Originally Posted by ImKobe
Maybe, but all I know is that usually the usage rating goes to ridiculous levels when a team is underperforming - this is where a star player tries to take the game over because his team is clearly inferior.
Harden and Westbrook play relatively on the same level as players, both are arguably as important to their team's overall success, Russ usually is forced to do more because he gets little to no help from his bench depending on the match-up and he doesn't have any reliable shooters to kick it to.
It's like when Kobe was getting criticized in 2013 when the Lakers had a terrible start to the season despite him putting up some of the best numbers of his career, he was getting criticized for missing some shots when they were put in a hole in the 4th but the problem was obvious - the bench provided little to no help and they got no help from their "3pt shooters", who at the time were Ron Artest and Pau Gasol in MDA's system
Point is, WB can do but so much on a nightly basis. He had a 50 pt triple double in Game 2 with a +11 and his bench blew most of a double digit lead and they lost, he had another triple double in Game 4 with a 35/14/14/3 stat line while being a +14 and they lost, he had 47/11/9 on 44% shooting, was a +12 in Game 5 and they lost, even when he had 20 pts in the 3rd quarter of that game his team could barely build a lead and the bench again blew the lead and put him in a 7 pt hole once he came back in.
It's just too much to ask of anyone to carry the offense for the entire game and not have bad stretches of basketball, the shooting % drops in the 4th because the defense locks down on you and now your teammates are looking at you to take them home, even giving up wide open shots in the process because they don't trust their shot.
This. I think part of the problem is that Russ is so good that he makes these games seem winnable and people say "If only he could tone it down," but it's those same heat-check jumpers and relentless approach, the ability to apply constant pressure to the defense, make terrific passes out of nothing without any bail out options, dunk, play defense at times, rebound--etc--that keeps his team in the game in the first place. The thing is, it takes all of that just to keep the game close in the first place, by the end of it, there was no way he'd have gas at the end. Roberson, who is by far one of the league's worst offensive players, was the Thunder's second leading scorer in the series. Oladipo, who had been thought of as a potential legit second option type --somewhere around an 18-20 ppg guy with great defense--is actually terrible, and averaged a staggeringly awful 11 ppg on 34% shooting from the field, with only 1.2 FTA per game. Think about that. He's got a 42 inch vertical, is pretty fast and is built like a thicker D-Wade--and yet, he got to the freethrow line at the rate of the least athletic person imaginable. It's insane and it confirms one thing: he's got zero skills. He also shot 24% from three. All of these stats were gooten in 36 minutes a game. If he could've done better, he would've. CJ McCollum would get it done. Honestly, even an eric gordon would've made a difference. Harden's fourth best offensive player in the series averaged more points per game 7% more efficiently than Oladipo, whilst still playing adequate defense. Insane.