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Russell Westbrook

While Team USA’s “B Team” continues to perform at a successful rate, save for a quarter or two of not playing to their abilities, one player I’ve enjoyed watching is Russell Westbrook. Talk about making the most of your opportunities. While his play hasn’t been perfect, Westbrook has been an incredibly athletic spark-plug for Coach K and the crew. While his jumping ability has been well-documented, his floor speed has actually surprised me. For some reason, I didn’t realize Westbrook was as fast as he is, and unlike some athletic basketball players, Westbrook, for the most part, keeps himself under control on the court, even when he’s blazing down it. There’s purpose to Westbrook’s speedy trips up and down the court.

In other words, he’s not running fast and jumping high simply because he can. He’s polished that genetic package into a very nice professional (and FIBA) ballplayer. Because of that, Coach K has no problem using Westbrook as one of his first substitutes, and Westbrook has rewarded that trust, while providing some highlight reel-worthy material for us to enjoy.

First, there was that nasty crossover/dunk he had against Croatia. The move was so nasty, it should make Allen Iverson jealous:

Say “bye” to those ankles.

And then there was the blocked shot, one that saw the 6-3 Westbrook smash the dunk attempt of a 6-11 opponent:

Two words for that dunk attempt: Hell no.

Westbrook finished off his weekend converting a nice dunk, courtesy of a behind-the-back pass from Stephen Curry:

While I don’t think Curry’s extra mustard was necessary, it didn’t become a turnover. I credit Westbrook and the mounds and mounds of athletic ability he’s been blessed with.

Next up for Team USA is what should be a hotly-contested game against Brazil later this afternoon. If Westbrook continues to be the Human Spark-Plug off the bench, a win will be much easier to come by.