Tag:Wilson Chandler
Posted on: August 29, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 9:25 pm

Wilson Chandler signs to play in China

Posted by Royce Young

Wilson Chandler is definitely not going to Italy during the lockout. Or the NBA for that matter, even if the lockout is lifted. A restricted free agent with the Nuggets, Chandler told ESPN.com that he has signed to play in China with Zhejiang Guangsha.

What does this mean? It all but assures that Chandler will not play in the NBA this upcoming season as the Chinese Basketball Association passed a rule that does not allow players to opt-out and return to the NBA.

"Maybe I'll lose out," Chandler told ESPN.com. "But I think it can be a great experience. I haven't been in any [labor negotiation] meetings. I can't call it. I'm just taking a risk, at the end of the day."

There is a chance Chandler could return to the NBA on a prorated level though because the Chinese league concludes action in April. But that of course hinges on there being an NBA in April.

The deal is for one year but the amount hasn't been specified. Chandler's agent said it was for less than the $3.1 million owed to him by the Nuggets and more than the reported $1.7 million he was close to signing for in Italy.

Chinese teams are only allowed a max of two foreign players so with Chandler, the Lions are at their limit having signed Earl Clark of the Magic recently.

Chandler's not some kind of player to just overlook and move on about. He's a pretty solid NBA player. He's just 24 and averaged 15.3 points a game last season in Denver and would likely have an increased role there next season if he were to stay. The Nuggets by all appearances intended to re-sign him, so this is kind of a blow to the team. The cost of the lockout, I suppose.

I don't know if we're to take this as an indication the lockout is going to wage on for a while or just if Chandler was ready and willing to sign so he could draw a paycheck. It tends to say that Chandler has a pessmistic view of the season, because he's taking less money to play in China. Or it says that because of salary rollbacks likely coming in the new CBA, that a player like him would likely make less than $3.1 million.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't really get why Chandler would sign in China right now. But he's there and for at least a season. Sorry, Nuggets.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:19 pm

Chandler might not be going to Italy after all

Posted by Royce Young

Last week, it appeared that Nuggets restricted free agent Wilson Chandler was on the verge of an interesting deal to play in Italy during the lockout.

But according to Chandler's agent, via SI.com, that deal appears to be off. And instead of Italy, it might be China. Which of course is intriguing because of that whole no NBA opt-out thing China has.

Quite a risk from Chandler, if indeed true. He'd be better big on the NBA season not happening because no matter what China was willing to offer, it wouldn't be near the deal he'd be likely to get from an NBA team. Already even if Chandler doesn't get an offer, the Nuggets would owe him $3.1 million and it's unlikely he'd get a contract in China touching anywhere near that.

Chandler's reported Italian deal was pretty interesting though as it was more of a month-by-month setup than just a year contract. He was going to stay there until December for sure and then if the NBA was back in business, likely sign return to the NBA. I don't exactly know how that would've worked since he's technically under contract with the Nuggets because he's a restricted free agent, but I'm sure there's some kind of catch.

Now, since it sounds like that's not happening, it's back to the drawing board. And if Chandler's really looking at China this intently, then I think that says one thing: He wants some money, now.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 12:43 pm

Wilson Chandler got an interesting Italian deal

Posted by Royce Young

Another NBA player is taking his talents overseas, except this time, it's not some marginal no-name. This time, it's a pretty darn good player and a restricted free agent to boot.

Wilson Chandler, currently of the Denver Nuggets, has agreed to terms with Olimpia Milano in Italy, according to Sportando. And there's a catch to the deal: It allows him to leave the team after the first stage of Euroleague. He signed for $500,000 for about two and half months of service. Not too bad, considering his qualifying offer in the NBA was $3.1 million.

But what makes this interesting is that Chandler likely doesn't have an NBA out. Meaning if the NBA reaches a deal before December, restricted free agent Wilson Chandler will still be in Italy playing hoops. It's a risk, but at this point, is it really that big of one? Zach Lowe of The Point Forward has some good thoughts on why it is:
To some degree, everything about the future of the NBA is an unknown right now, but Chandler’s deal places him in an even more uncertain future. If the league is back in business in November, can Chandler sign a contract right then for whatever portion of the 2011-12 remains after the new year? Will teams outside of Denver view him as devalued, at least in the immediate future, since they might not have time to integrate Chandler into their systems during whatever sort of training camp might precede an abbreviated 2011-12 season? If his $3.1 million qualifying offer still applies — an unknown, again — how exactly would that work, considering that amount is intended to pay for a full season of NBA play?
Chandler is definitely taking some chances in signing this deal, again, assuming it has no NBA out. But I guess he's seeing the negotiations pretty pessimistically. He doesn't see the NBA starting on time so if it works out on his schedule, he'll be back right on time to play the free agent market.

What's the advantage of the month-by-month contract instead of just adding an NBA out? Because it makes you far more attractive to the European team, therefore more money. Contrary to popular belief, those Euroleague teams want to win. It's not some kind of little league that just exists to supplement the NBA every now and then. It's serious business and Olimpia Milano wants Chandler because they see him as a key piece in advancing in Euroleague.

And if the NBA doesn't reach a conclusion by December? I bet Chandler would just re-up with his Italian team.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 1:57 pm

Wilson Chandler has offers from China and Italy?

Posted by Royce Young

Wilson Chandler -- while a fine player -- getting an offer from a Chinese team isn't exactly the biggest news ever. (Then again, in this lockout where pretty much any news feels earth-shattering, maybe it is.)

What caught my eye is how much Chandler was offered, reportedly, by a Chinese team. Via HoopsHype, Chandler's agent Chris Luchey said his client has a $1.7 million offer on the table from a Chinese club. Comparitively, Kobe Bryant was reportedly offered $1.5 million... a month from a Chinese team. Obviously Kobe's services would be at a premium, but that's quite difference. Still, $1.7 million for Chandler is more than a lot of the rumored offers circling around players in Europe.

Chandler also has a potential offer from an Italian team according to his agent, which may end up being the more realistic offer. Why? Because the Chinese Basketall Association is looking to install a rule that won't allow players to sign in China with an opt-out that allows them to return to the NBA.

So there's probably not a ton of chance Chandler signs in China if that rule is passed, but as of now, that hasn't been pushed through. It's clear that China has some money to throw around at players.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 5:52 pm

The Top 40 Players in NBA Free Agency

Posted by EOB Staff

When free agency starts there's a relatively lackluster class to choose from. Nevertheless, here are the top 40 players available in unrestricted or restricted free agency now that they tentatively have this sorted out.

Rankings are based on overall value, factoring in production, age, potential, star power, interest and market value. For the full list of free agents this offseason, check out our tracker

1. Nene, C: You're looking at a cornerstone piece in Nene, which means someone's got to pay cornerstone money. He's just now hitting his prime at 29 years old and as the second half of last season proved, he's top guy material. The Nuggets are definitely looking to put pretty much all of their eggs in Nene's basket, but there could be another big spender that tries to swoop in and grab him. He's a prize and someone that can be a building piece for the next four or five years. 

2. Marc Gasol, C:
The perfect combination of factors lead Gasol to our No. 2 spot. Talent, capitalizing on a stellar playoff run, centersmarc-gasol being at such a premium in the league and Gasol's age of 26. There are bigger names on this list, but no one is as valuable as Gasol. His restricted free agency status only drives his value farther, as a front-loaded contract is the only thing that might push the Grizzlies off matching an offer.

3. David West, F: Were West not coming off of a significant injury at 31 years old, he'd likely be in the top spot on this list. A former All-Star with excellent mid-range skills and a heap of attitude, West opted out and enter free agency, presumably to attempt to get a front-loaded contract before any CBA restrictions drive down his long-term value. He'll have bidders if the Hornets don't quickly recapture him once free agency begins.

4. Tyson Chandler, C: Hitting free agency just after being the starting center and a key factor for a championship team -- talk about great timing. Chandler is a lock to return to Dallas as there's no way Cuban lets the guy who validated all that work escape. But Chandler's going to have whatever offer he wants. Which is stunning for a guy who can't contribute much offensively outside of the lob. But that's the difference a ring makes.

5. Jason Richardson, SG: Richardson's age is kind of a concern here; he'll be 31 next season. But he's the best overall offensive weapon and has a few more years of contribution left in him and is the kind of veteran that teams look for. Orlando may be looking to make room for a bigger trade, so Richardson could fetch offers on the market. But if teams have learned anything from the Joe Johnson valuation, they'll keep it within reason.

6. Thaddeus Young, PF: It's really hard to imagine Philadelphia letting one of its very best young options get away, but Young has become one of the most lethal bench weapons in the game. He can realistically play three positions and is one of the game's most versatile players. He became a legit Sixth Man of the Year candidate and as he matures -- he's still just 23 -- he could become one of the 76ers prized future pieces, making him a valuable asset.

7. J.R. Smith, SG: Unstable? Probably. Unreliable? Possibly injured? He may be all of these things. But Smith's a scorer whose not on the downslide of his career. A sixth-man scorer with guts. Think Ben Gordon a few years ago with a worse attitude.

8. Glen Davis, PF: "Big Baby" has a championship ring and has shown he can contribute to a winner. The only thing keeping him lower on this list is a disappointing playoff run after a tremendous season; 14 points and 7 rebounds per 36 with great defense and the ability to take charges will get him the rest of the way.

9. DeAndre Jordan, C: In a normal year, Jordan's the top of the B rankings. This year, he's the seventh-best available player considering value. Jordan had a tremendous year for the Clippers and is nearly a lock to be re-signed by the Clippers. Then again, it's the Clippers. Jordan averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 last season but more importantly started to show understanding of defensive rotations, which makes it much tougher to turn away from him.

10. Grant Hill, SF: Anyone else think Hill's career is going in reverse? If Hill doesn't want to return to Phoenix, there will be contenders left and right vying for his services.

11. Tayshaun Prince, SF: Part of the worst locker-room environment in the league last year, Prince should have a higher value, even at 31. He's still capable of excellent defense and averaged 14 points on 47-percent shooting last season. Seeing him in another jersey would be bizarre, but after last season's hijinx, it's a coin flip.

12. Wilson Chandler, SF: Chandler's a young and versatile player. Denver is unlikely to re-sign him considering their need to get Nene back in house and they have Galinari and drafted Jordan Hamilton. Chandler has been rumored to be interested in a return to the Knicks, if they've got the scratch to pay him.

13. Jeff Green, SF/PF: This one is mostly on account of his market value. Green is not a good rebounder. He can't really take over offensively, and he's not a great defender. But Danny Ainge thinks he's the bee's knees and will overpay to keep him, plus he could theoretically develop any of the aforementioned skills. This one caused some debate among our crew in developing these rankings.

14. Jamal Crawford, SG: Crawford made it public knowledge that he wanted a big extension last year, but the Hawks declined to oblige him. Crawford is 31, and his numbers took a dive last season (42 percent FG percentage, 14 points per game down from 18). But he's likely to still pull offers based on star power. The question will be whether it comes close to matching what Crawford thinks he's worth. His playoff heroics should help matters on that front.

15. J.J. Barea, SG: Barea's stock could not be higher coming off the Mavs' championship win. He answered every question about himself and showed the ability to compete at the highest level. He won't dictate a huge asking price due to his diminutive size, but for a role player, he'll collect a tremendous amount of interest, though like Chandler, it's certain Cuban will re-sign him.

16. Caron Butler, SF: So many Mavericks, such a poor free-agency class to drive up their value. Butler's over 30, coming back from injury, and has been on the slide for quite a while. Still, veteran defender who can shoot (or at least can have a few hot shooting nights) is going to get offers. Cuban will likely re-sign Butler in a wave of goodwill on his championship high.

17. Aaron Brooks, PG: The best point guard in the free agent class. How depressing is that? Brooks is a high-usage, low-assist-rate pointaaron-brooks-suns guard who's undersized. And yet because of his work in Houston before getting shuffled off to make room for Kyle Lowry, Brooks is rumored to be on the radar for Sacramento among others, but as a restricted free agent, the offer will have to be significant for Phoenix not to match.

18. Marcus Thornton, SG: Guys who can drop 40 in a night are rare in this league. "Buckets" has that ability coming off his rookie contract. Yes, his shot selection needs work, and he's undersized for a two-guard, but he's scrappy, hustles and can hit big shots. Thornton should be high on every team's list if the Kings elect to let him slide after adding Salmons and Jimmer.

19. Arron Afflalo, SG: A 26-year-old guard with great athleticism who shot 50 percent from the field last season coming off his rookie contract? Afflalo could be a steal if the Nuggets decide not to match for some reason. Odds are that he's headed back to Denver, though.

20. Samuel Dalembert, C: Dalembert played surprisingly well last season for Sacramento. But he's an aging center with injury questions who has never contributed much offensively. So why is he top-20? Seriously. NBA centers. Not good right now.

21. Carl Landry, PF: A below-average rebounder who learned to work well with Chris Paul (who doesn't) late last season. Landry didn't gather a huge contract last time he was in free agency and will probably not draw much this time. Still, he's a reliable power forward who's great defensively even if his defensive rebounding is a significant letdown.

22. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG: A combo guard's combo guard, Stuckey may have outstayed his welcome in Detroit, even in restricted free agency. Teams looking for quality guard play could definitely look to Stuckey who may have some improvement left in him at 25.

23. Kris Humphries, PF: The Incredible Hump is looking to cash in after averaging a double-double, finding himself in the Most Improved Player discussion and locking down a Kardashian last season. The Nets have expressed interest in David West but will be very motivated to retain Humphries if that chase doesn’t work out.

24. Shane Battier, SF: After taking part in a miracle run past the San Antonio Spurs, it would be heartbreaking to watch Battier and the Memphis Grizzlies part ways. At the same time, Battier has reached the “latch on with a contender as a very valuable role player” stage of his career. Would be a huge get for a team looking for an experienced, gritty wing defender.

25. Mario Chalmers, PG: Chalmers got buried behind Mike Bibby for no apparent reason by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra but, nevertheless, made a solid name for himself by being the most capable and consistent member of the Big 3 support staff. He enters free agency as a young talent with upside if given more minutes, but the Heat, without another point-guard option, will likely do what it takes to keep him.

26. Nick Young, SG: When given the opportunity after Gilbert Arenas was dealt, Young became quite the scorer, finishing up at better than 17 points per game. He was a bit trigger happy however and one has to wonder how he'd fit in a more traditional offense. He's not a go-to scorer but will make a nice bench option or even second or third starting scorer for someone. But that's the thing: He has to realize that.

27. Luc Mbah a Moute, SF: It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for the Bucks to retain him. Even though the Stephen Jackson trade muddles up the available minutes on Milwaukee’s wings, a low-cost, quality defender is worth keeping around.

28. Jeff Foster, C: Life isn’t very complicated for Foster. He’s a lunch-pail worker who does the dirty work and not much else. He’s getting up there in years but always seems to find a niche. Indiana’s frontcourt is fairly shallow aside from Roy Hibbert, so if the Pacers strike out in their attempts to get bigger fish in free agency, Foster could be a good fallback option.

29. Jonas Jerebko, SF: A tough-minded wing who has been lost because of injury and the coach-killing mess left by his higher-profile teammates. President Joe Dumars is preaching a fresh start after Thursday’s draft, and it makes sense that Jerebko, a fresh-faced worker, would be a part of that.

30. Andrei Kirilenko, SF: The Utah Jazz are finally freed from one of the ugliest contracts in recent memory. Where will AK land and at what price? Very difficult to say. He’s a quirky guy who brings loads of versatility and should have some miles left. If a contender throws its mid-level at him, that could get real interesting.

31. Marco Belinelli, SG: The Hornets have concerns than Belinelli. Namely, David West. Belinelli's future is uncertain, although his shooting is a clear role player asset that should draw interest, if not big dollars.

32. Kwame Brown, C: The only other big man Charlotte has on its roster is DeSagana Diop, so if Brown leaves in free agency, there will be a gaping hole in the middle. That will be a sure sign that the Bobcats are truly committed to a full-scale rebuild. Once a punchline, Brown has emerged as a serviceable defender.

33. Greg Oden, C: One less knee surgery and Oden's probably a top 15 free agent on this list. Two less and he'd be top five. Butgreg-oden then, that's another universe, and the reality is that Oden is too much of an injury risk to devote money to. For all the promise born in his frame, there's a desperately terrible injury to go with it. At some point there's only so much damage you can do before you're relegated to lemon status until you prove you can stay on the floor.

34. Marquis Daniels, G/F: Daniels wasn't a terrific player but a pretty good one. But he's coming back from a gruesome injury, and that's going to raise red flags.

35. DeShawn Stevenson, G/F: The only Maverick free agent not in the top 20. Stevenson did a fantastic job in the Finals, but the "Ariza effect" is something to be wary of. A strong playoff run does not make up for an overall career of questionable production. Still, Stevenson could be a value pick up for another team... or they could overspend dramatically, blinded by the shine of his championship ring.

36. Earl Clark, F: This one caused some consternation within the committee for where to put Clark. Athletic, low production, warned off in the draft, cast off by Phoenix, produced marginally for Orlando with some intriguing potential. But Clark is young, healthy and can be had for cheap. This is a value slot.

37. Tracy McGrady, F: McGrady actually wasn't bad last year for the Pistons. I mean, the Pistons were bad last year for the Pistons, but still. McGrady isn't going to be a difference-maker, but he can contribute some points, assists and rebounds every now and then to finish out his career. Provided he stays healthy. You can file that under "Famous last words."

38. Josh McRoberts, PF: McBob was surprisingly productive for the Pacers last season, and in a league where big men are overvalued, he'll find a spot.

39. Kenyon Martin, PF: There are dozens of reasons not to sign Martin. But if you need someone with experience to bring a metric ton of attitude to your team, Martin's as good a pickup as any. Remember when this guy was part of a Finals squad?

40. Yi Jianlian, PF: An unrealized offensive talent, Yi still seems like he should be every bit the player of an Andrea Bargnani. Yi's not a strong defender or rebounder, but at seven feet with touch to the 3-point line and just 23 years old, he's going to be worth a contract to see if he can sniff a little of that lottery potential.

Posted on: April 28, 2011 4:19 pm

Wilson Chandler may head back to the Knicks

Wilson Chandler is a restricted free agent this summer. Could he return to the Knicks?
Posted by Matt Moore

Wilson Chandler was pretty comfortable in New York. He had the whole New York thing going on, he was a featured part of the offense, he had some chemistry with his guys and Amar'e. Then Donnie Walsh James Dolan Isiah Thomas came along and ruined all that, shipping him as part of the kitchen-sink package for Melo.  Chandler's going to be semi-available this summer once the CBA gets sorted out, though, and the Knicks are reportedly interested in bringing him back in. From the New York Post
Chandler, who was dispatched to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade, will be a restricted free agent, and a source said he would love to return to the Knicks. And the Knicks would love to have him back, as coach Mike D'Antoni believes he's the perfect versatile fit for his system who does so many things, including rebound. Chandler's Nuggets trail Oklahoma City 3-1 in the first round.

Chandler's new agent is Happy Walters, who also represents Amar'e Stoudemire and Knicks surprise reserve standout Shawne Williams, also a free agent whom the Knicks would like to bring back.
via Chandler may come back to Knicks - NYPOST.com.

Chandler is a versatile wing who had a 54 percent True Shooting percentage this year, even after the drop when he came to Denver. He took to Mike D'Antoni's system, can work off-ball and as a ball-handler, and is only 24 next season. Bringing him back would be a big boost for the Knicks. It's surprising that Chandler didn't take the trade more personally, though. He lived through the end of the Isiah reign, dealt with inconsistency in his role and kept coming back and playing, only to succeed, and then be traded. Coming back would mean more time spent as a third banana to Melo (Melo takes up two banana spots) on the wing. 

But hey, it is New York, after all. 
Posted on: April 28, 2011 3:08 pm

The Nuggets and their uncertain future

Posted by Royce Young

After the Nuggets' season wrapped up with a 100-97 Game 5 loss to Oklahoma City, George Karl summed up his team's whirlwind season pretty simply.

"I'm proud to be a part of what they've done. It's going to be hard to swallow but I think we have a bright future and a bright energy coming out of Denver and through a year that had many, many faces," he said. "We will, somewhere in the next week or so, wake up and realize we had one hell of a season.''

But that energy and future has a number of questions surrounding it. As much transition as the Nuggets' roster went through during the season, it may face a similar fate this offseason.

Wilson Chandler is a restricted free agent. So is Arron Afflalo. Nene has an early termination option that he's hinted towards exercising. Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith are both unrestricted free agents, with Smith already talking about going elsewhere.

Most of the Nuggets' core that built such a promising future and so much excitement, could be somewhere else next year. Chandler was asked postgame by The Denver Post about his future .

"I have no idea," Chandler said. "I'm just going to wait it out and see what happens. ... I just focus on now. I can't control the future."

Chandler struggled mightily in the postseasno going just 7-28 from the field in Denver's five games. He had played really well in Denver down the stretch, but his stinker in the playoffs may have cost him a bigger offer this summer.

Smith was asked again about his future in Denver and he didn't back off his previous statement. "Right now, I don't know (about returning to Denver). I still got to weigh some options and see what happens," he said . "Yeah, I feel better [about re-signing with the Nuggets]." Smith has had a bunch of up and down moments with the Nuggets, always remaining on a short leash from George Karl. A talented, versatile player that just never has been able to keep it together mentally, he'll find someone that wants him though.

Martin: "Yeah I don't want to leave. But it's out of my control right now So we'll see."

If Martin intends to stay in Denver, he's going to have to take a cut. He made $16.5 million this season and there's no way he sees that kind of cash again. He's aging and has battled a number of injuries lately. He's an important piece and someone definitely worth keeping, but only if the money works.

And then of course, the big one -- Nene. The Denver big man has definitely made it appear that he'll exercise that ETO and explore the free agent market. If he does, he'll command a hefty price tag. At just 27, he's settling in as one of the league's top big men and is an All-Star caliber center. Those kinds of guys tend to get paid. So general manager Masai Ujiri will have to make the call as to if Nene is something worth making the centerpiece of the organization. Nene is going to want star money. It's up to Denver to give it to him.

Most felt when Denver made the Carmelo Anthony deal it was all about cap flexibility and rebuilding. Then this roster played really well together. I don't know if that's what Ujiri expected but he's definitely re-evaluating what to do with it now. He has a chance to open up some cap space. Or he can keep most of the core intact. An interesting question.

Like George Karl said, sometime these guys will wake up and realize they had a great season. There is a great future coming out of Denver. It's just a little uncertain at this point.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 3:11 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 1:55 pm

So, what got into Russell Westbrook?

Posted by Royce Young

There were a lot of stories to come out of Monday night's 104-101 Denver win over Oklahoma City. The fact the Thunder didn't close the series. The fact the Nuggets snapped a five-game losing streak to OKC. The fact Denver finally found some of that scary scoring balance again.

But the angle that has a lot of people talking? Russell Westbrook.

The Thunder's All-Star point guard scored 30 points, had five assists and six rebounds against Denver Monday. If you changed his name to Derrick Rose, everyone would promptly freak out. The catch here is two-fold: Westbrook took 30 shots and he also has this dude named Kevin Durant on his team.

Two plays stick out to a lot of people from Monday's game. With 30 seconds left and OKC trailing 98-96, Westbrook wasn't able to get the ball to Durant on the wing so with the shot clock winding down, Westbrook fired a 3. It rimmed out. Then with the Thunder down 101-98 and needing a 3 to tie with 10 seconds left, Westbrook took the ball on his own and airballed a 3-pointer with six seconds left as Durant stood waiting by the arc.

Curious, indeed.

Westbrook was 12-30 from the field while Durant was 8-18. Russell Westbrook took 12 more shots than the two-time scoring champion.

Curious, indeed.

However, having watched Westbrook a lot of this season, I can't bag on him too much for it. That's the player he is. If you want the All-Star Good Russell Westbrook, sometimes you have to live with the do-it-myself Bad Russell Westbrook.

I think a big reason behind Westbrook's ball-hogging was he sensed what I was seeing. The Thunder didn’t look comfortable in their own offensive skin. They were throwing the ball away, taking dumb shots, forcing things and not moving off the ball. So he tried to take over a bit. A lot of the stagnant offense is probably the fault of the point guard, but Westbrook is the new hybrid point like Derrick Rose and Deron Williams. He looks for his own as much as he looks for others.

And it’s difficult for Westbrook to turn it on in spurts. That’s would be the ideal Westbrook. The guy that can sense that moment where his team needs his offensive spark and give it for a few minutes and then turn the game back over to the natural rhythm and flow. But he’s not there yet. He’s just 22 and he’s still figuring all that out.

Thing is, to get Good Russ, sometimes you live with Bad Russ. He’s not a perfect player. He’s still developing. This wasn’t his finest hour but he was trying to win the game. That’s what he had on his mind. Did Durant need a few more touches? Absolutely. Does Westbrook deserve a bit of guff for what went down in Game 4? Definitely. But this isn't something to really get too worked over about. Yeah he took some questionable shots but that's Westbrook. He desperately wants to be the guy taking those shots. He's hit a bunch of big ones for the Thunder this season and I can promise you, every Thunder fan thought his 3 with 30 seconds left was about to drop through the bottom of the net.

In the same ways you can say Westbrook lost Game 4 for the Thunder, he almost won it for them as well. That's life in the Russell Lane. There are things he definitely should've done different. If Scott Brooks could transfer five of those bad Westbrook shots to Durant, the Thunder probably win the game. Can't deny that.

Westbrook is the ultimate "No No No Yes Yes Yes!" player. He takes a bunch of shots that while in flight you're saying are horrible but then you're clapping as it swishes through. And in those big moments, he lives to take big shots. The problem with that is, he has Kevin Durant standing on the wing waiting for the ball as well.

With Westbrook, it's all about accepting what he is. It's like the scene in Band of Brothers when Speirs tells that one guy crying in the foxhole, "The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll be able to function." Westbrook isn't a "true" point guard. He never will be. The sooner you accept that fact, the sooner you'll be able to appreciate what he is. A darn good basketball player that still has some room to grow.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com