Dwyane Wade: Russell Westbrook is the 'most athletic' player in the league

By Royce Young | NBA writer
Russell Westbrook believes he can fly. Because he can. (NBAThunderPhotos)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Take that, LeBron. Signed, your buddy Dwyane.

So maybe it wasn't actually a jab at all, but Dwyane Wade doesn't see LeBron James as the league's most incredible athlete. He's handed that crown to Russell Westbrook.

“I always say this is a very good team, but Russell Westbrook is what makes them very special, because there's no one else like him in the NBA," Wade said. "I think he's personally I think he's the most athletic guy in the NBA for what he does and how he does it and how quick he does it."

Most athletic guy in the league, huh? In a league full of stunning athleticism with guys like LeBron, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and on, naming Westbrook is a big call. Not something easily argued against though. There's a lot of evidence supporting the claim. Maybe start here, or here.

Westbrook's athleticism though makes him an issue for the Heat. He's someone they don't exactly have an answer for. Mario Chalmers? Besides Westbrook having done this to Chalmers, the Miami point guard doesn't have the size, strength or speed to keep up with Westbrook.

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"We're going to have our hands full, and I'm going to have to guard him a lot and just try to give him different looks, and whoever else has to guard him, as well," Wade said. "But very tough cover, man.”

With the way the Heat talked Monday, it almost sounded like they were more concerned with corralling Westbrook rather than the reigning three-time scoring champ.

"[Westbrook's] end-to-end as explosive as anybody in this league," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He plays with incredible force."

The Heat have a lot to be concerned about with the Thunder's dynamic offensive attack. Kevin Durant, James Harden, Serge Ibaka's mid-range game. And of course the soaring, explosive Westbrook.

Westbrook's ability to rise and finish with incredible ferocity is impressive, but his speed with the ball as well as how he can seemingly stop on a pin to pull up for a jumper is stunning. He's the total athletic package. If he played football, he'd be a free safety in the mold of Ed Reed. H

Is he the most athletic player in the league? Obviously debatable, but there's a strong case to be made. And he's got a pretty hefty endorsement.
 
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