I written a good amount about Russell Westbrook recently. After the Paul George trade I talked about how, if he wanted out of OKC, they should let him go. Then, I wrote about the stunning trade to Houston the following Monday, and how much I disagreed with it, and how I do not think it will work out. I still do not think it will work, both Westbrook and Harden are so ball dominant, but I am sick and tired of the slander that is always thrown Westbrook's way.
This all comes about because I was listening to "The Mismatch" on The Ringer Podcast today. This is one of my favorite pods because I enjoy Chris Vernon. He is fun, has a good time, is right around my age and I usually agree with his takes. But, it is getting harder and harder for me to continue to listen to because of the other host, Kevin O'Connor. O'Connor is the prototypical "blog boy" for the modern NBA. All he cares about is analytics and drafting based on projected talent. He said on the show that I listened to today that Brandon Clarke slipped in the draft because he was "old". Clarke is 22 years old. That whole draft for projection thing is so stupid, and so is tanking, but that seems to be, when it comes to the draft, all that O'Connor cares about. And he did go on to say that he thought that Clarke was the steal of the draft, but I cannot get over him calling Clarke old. That is asinine.
When they got off the Summer League stuff, Vernon transitioned into the Westbrook trade. Vernon is a big time believer in Westbrook just like I am. He defends Westbrook and gives him all the accolades he has earned. But, whenever O'Connor talked about him, all he would say is "he is the worst elite point guard", and "he has easily fixable mistakes, if he would just put in the time to fix them".
First of all, I have never seen Kevin O'Connor play basketball. But, if I had to guess, the dude is a scrub. You can watch, and write and read all you want about the game, it does not make you a player. So, for a blogger to call out Westbrook's game, get the hell out of here. Westbrook is so much better than any single player that is on his beloved Boston Celtics team. I feel like he would kill to have a player as good as Westbrook in Boston right now. But, what makes his takes even worse, his takes that put him on a Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd level, is how hard he goes to bat for Harden. James Harden is an elite, elite scorer. He is one of the best. No doubt about that. But, if you want to talk about easy to fix mistakes, Harden is a horrendous defender, he is a ball stopper and he is usually out of shape. Just because he scores 40 points on 30 shots, that doesn't make him the best player in the league. But the way O'Connor talks about him, you'd think he was the greatest ever. And what was so hilarious to me today, Vernon pulled up their playoff stats, because O'Connor inevitably went there with Westbrook, and they are nearly identical between the 2 guys. They both have nearly the same shooting percentage. They both have similar assists numbers. Westbrook is a far superior rebounder. And, they both have went exactly the same distance in the playoffs. They have both reached the Finals, when they were on OKC. Since Harden was traded, each have been to a conference finals. Last year, Houston lasted one more round than OKC. But if you only heard O'Connor talk, you would assume that Harden has been to the Finals multiple times, and was a champion and MVP.
Here is the truth on James Harden, and Vernon also brought this up, Harden is a known choker. He choked away a series to the Kawhi less Spurs, in Houston. He choked away game 7 of the West Finals last year, leading the charge in the 27 straight missed three point attempts. And this past season, after KD went down, Harden and Paul both choked away their best chance at a Finals appearance. So, don't give me the whole, all of OKC's problems are because of the way Westbrook plays Kevin O'Connor. And, he was insistent on Westbrook changing the way he plays to fit in with Harden. I wonder if he remembers that Harden was the sixth man on that OKC team that went to the Finals, and his job was to be the third option behind KD and Westbrook. I know things have changed since then, but I do not want to hear O'Connor talk about how "bad" of a player Westbrook is when O'Connor couldn't carry my jock on a basketball court.
This dude is just here to make shitty takes on a website that is the sports equivalent of Buzzfeed. The dude is a good writer, but I'm going to start referring to Kevin O'Connor as the "worst basketball blogger that gets paid to do it". That seems fair since he is always shit talking Russell Westbrook. His takes are god awful, and it makes it hard for me to listen to him and not yell at my phone. I feel for him for what he is going through with his dad, I too have a parent that had cancer, she is fine and clear now, and that sucks. But that cannot excuse his horrendous takes on professional basketball players.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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