COMMENTARY | Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook changed the point-guard game by bringing supreme athleticism to the position.
Occupying the spot generally reserved for a player who can distribute the ball and run an offense, neither of these areas is the greatest strength of Rose nor Westbrook. They are most gifted at creating shots for themselves, getting to the basket, and even dunking with the best of them. Their games are uniquely similar in the sense that they may be the only point guards in the NBA with such a skill set. Naturally, one is often compared to the other.
In doing so, there are several areas in which Rose has a distinctive advantage over Westbrook:
While Rose is often described as humble and an all-around good, unselfish teammate, words used characterize Westbrook include volatile and frustrating. He is frequently accused of "acting out" and being angered to the point of inconsolable during games.
One of these personas is endearing, the other is polarizing. It is not extremely important that teammates like each other, but lashing out and throwing tantrums ultimately cause discourse. While Rose seems to be one of the easiest stars to play with in terms of demeanor, Westbrook must be one of the most difficult.
Westbrook has been much-maligned as a decision-maker his entire NBA career. When the Oklahoma City Thunder lose a game, he often takes the blame. Whether it be bad shots, turnovers, or not deferring to Kevin Durant, Westbrook's perceived deficiencies as a floor leader have been exposed on many occasions.
Perhaps this is not a fair area of comparison. Rose has no one to defer to. He is the Bulls' first and second option on offense. He can take as many shots as he desires and no one would think twice about it. Still, he is seldom the reason his team loses and rarely takes the wild, contested jump-shots his counterpart is prone to.
See the aforementioned "wild, contested jump-shots." Westbrook is notorious for these as he has never met a shot he did not like. Both players tend to go one-on-one a great deal. However, Rose's aim is usually to get to the basket, while Westbrook will settle for the low-percentage mid-range or even 3-point shot.
What is so baffling about Westbrook's shot selection and volume is that he does not have to play this way. Having arguably the league's second-best player on his team in Durant, there really is no reason to jack up jumpers. But this is what he does. He shoots. The problem is, while Westbrook is highly capable of shooting the Thunder into a game, he is just as liable to shoot his team out of one.
In fairness, both Rose and Westbrook are shooting guards in 6-foot-3-inch point-guard bodies. Both are great at what they do and exciting to watch. Neither is perfect if measured against what a point guard is supposed to do. Yet, at the end of the day, if we must compare them and apparently we must, Rose has the ever so slight edge.Acamea Deadwiler is a Chicago-area native with several years experience covering the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls , for Examiner.com. She has also been featured in Bounce magazine, SLAM Online, and various other publications. Follow Acamea on Twitter @AcameaLD. More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Derrick Rose
- Russell Westbrook