Twitter breeds some ridiculous arguments from time-to-time and the following rebuttal is to @NerdNumbers’ assertion that Ty Lawson is better than Russell Westbrook is no different. It started innocently enough, in which, I posed a question to Twitter; I inquired which scoring point guard would they build a team around — granted that Rose is still rehabilitating, I tweeted I was tossing between Westbrook and Lawson — and that’s when Dre The Nerd began making outlandish claims.
“Russell Westbrook is overvalues” and “Ty Lawson is better than Russell Westbrook” ……
First and foremost, let me address this: I love and admire Lawson’s game; he fits well in Denver’s system and you could point out that’s why he thrives so well. Could the same be said if he was in a slower paced system? Lawson can attack, drain the three-pointer, he sets up his teammates, and he isn’t a selfish player.
However, if you honestly believe Ty Lawson is better than Russell Westbrook, one of two things are occurring:
1.) You’re higher than J.R. Smith at a Snoop Dogg concert
2.) You are on some super level of being a homer
Pick your poison, Dre.
Statistically speaking, Westbrook averaged 23.6 points per game on 45.7% from the field, 4.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals and averaged 31.6% from downtown last season. Adversely, Lawson averaged 16.4 points per game on 48.8% from the field, 3.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.3 steals and averaged 36.5% from the perimeter.
One of Dre’s biggest complaints is that Lawson is better because his shooting efficiency is greater than Westbrook and he mentioned several times that Westbrook is a buyer in Kobe’s System: he shoots and misses a lot.
The simple fact is that Westbrook has been an above average and even good point guard but he has never been elite. Ty Lawson on the other hand has played amazingly well his entire career. Let’s do a quick breakdown.
Dre, Dre, Dre, where do I start? One HUGE arguing point he avoided is that Lawson has improved season after season; it’s not as if Lawson has been ‘OH EM GEE THAT’S THE BEST POINT GUARD EVER” his entire career. Dre is painting a one-sided picture, that makes him look like he’s crushing on Lawson.
Dre does go on to state their wins produced over the years:
Lawson WP: 2010: 4.9, 2011: 8.5, 2012: 8.1; Westbrook’s WP: 2009: 2.5, 2010: 7.1, 2011: 9.1, 2012: 4.9.
Lawson has been a phenomenal player for Denver, no doubt about it, but to just call Westbrook ‘above average’ seems like lazy analysis, but good thing Dre goes on to why Westbrook sucks, and Lawson is G-O-D.
Now, the reason Westbrook is considered elite is because he puts up a high point totals. Last season Westbrook finished 4th in the league in points scored behind Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The issue is when we examine Westbrook’s amazing offense it falls apart quickly. His shooting costs his teams wins. His free throw shooting keeps his scoring positive. However, he’s still half as effective at scoring as Lawson. When it comes to offense, Westbrook is bad at everything except for free throws and offensive rebounding. And those can’t make up for the his terrible passing and high turnovers. Westbrook actually keeps himself positive with his defensive skills. It’s not often I hear Westbrook praised as a defensive powerhouse.
Dre is basically calling NBA critics ‘dumb’ for believing Westbrook is elite, but misses a main arguing point. Westbrook — by nature is a shooting guard playing the pg position — has other scorers on his team — Durant, Ibaka, Harden — and has the luxury of tossing up shots. However, can the same be said for Lawson? He doesn’t have the opportunity to work along the side of one of the best players in the league, but one could argue that it would sway in Lawson’s favor as it would entail him to be more efficient with his scoring. This isn’t a bad thing, but when you don’t have elite scorers on your team, you have to be as effective as possible with your shot and that’s what Lawson does.
Is Lawson better than Westbrook?
Hell no, and Dre is absolutely high when he posted that entire article.
Now, I’m sure Dre’s next point is that Westbrook is a ballhog:
The Nuggets do have better shooters than Lawson. However, it’s not by much. That’s because Lawson is actually good at shooting and unlike Westbrook, he’s able to distribute the ball.
As aforementioned, I did state one of Lawson’s gifts is the ability to set teammates up on the offense, and that’s not Westbrook’s foray; however, it is my belief without Westbrook’s 20+ points a game OKC wouldn’t be as successful?
Notice, Dre waves off the aggressive factor for either candidate; aggressiveness is huge in many of the run-and-gun teams and multiple times last season Lawson’s lack of confidence AND aggressiveness was evident and what did it amount to for Denver? Losses.
“Sure, we can fall back on the superlative test and point out that Westbrook is more aggressive than Lawson. Except, player attitudes don’t win games, playing well does.”
Except they kinda do, Dre. Mental fortitude and attitudes can be detrimental in games, in 2010-2011 Westbrook would demonstrate extreme selfishness and it *could* translate in lost game.
Dre has and will note Lawson is a better passer and more efficient shooter, which I agree with, but to make a clear statement that Lawson is the most obvious pick over Westbrook is absurd.
Dre is also absolving another important factor for Westbrook and that’s when shots aren’t happening for Durant or Harden, who gets the ball to make offense happen?
Dre, just let Westbrook be Westbrook.
Lawson or Westbrook?
Westbrook is insanely athletic, aggressive, confident, dangerous when attacking the basket, and just as quick — even more so — than Lawson. Westbrook has talent embedded in his muscular body that Lawson still hasn’t tapped into or maybe he doesn’t even have. That’s not even mentioning Westbrook’s explosiveness, something Lawson can’t compete with.
Remember the article Denver Post columnist, Mark Kiszla wrote in saying he’d rather have Lawson in Westbrook?
Remember basketball twitter’s reaction? I expect the same type of treatment for Dre and his crazy, THC-inducing, accusations that Westbrook is sub-par compared to Lawson.
You really believe Lawson is superior to Westbrook, @NerdNumbers, and all I need to tell you is:
You must be high.