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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Russell Westbrook reportedly focused on practicing 3-point shooting

Very few players in the NBA love shooting the basketball more than Russell Westbrook, but the star point guard has not been very efficient from 24 feet and beyond throughout his career. Apparently that is something he is working on this offseason.

In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s podcast this week, ESPN’s Royce Young said Westbrook has decided to make 3-point shooting one of the focal points of his offseason training.

“He’s been working on it this summer, I’ve been told,” Young said, as transcribed by Chris Bengel of 247Sports.com. “That’s been a big time offseason focus, we’ll see.

“They want him to be a … what they’ve stressed Zach is work on a catch-and-shoot, become a little bit better of a catch-and-shoot guy. But obviously, in order to do that, there needs to be a catching before the shooting, and it’s hard to catch it from yourself.”

Westbrook hit just 29.8 percent of his shots from 3-point range last season. He attempted just 4.1 shots from beyond the arc per game, which was his lowest total in five seasons. Westbrook is a 31.3 percent 3-point shooter, which places him well behind fellow star point guards like James Harden (36.4 percent), Chris Paul (37.2 percent) and Stephen Curry (43.6 percent).

The NBA game has changed in recent years, and the Golden State Warriors are the best example of that. They’re a catch-and-shoot team that takes a ton of 3-pointers, and it has worked to perfection. The Boston Celtics play a similar style under Brad Stevens and have also enjoyed great success with it. If the Thunder want to keep up with teams like the Warriors and Houston Rockets, it makes sense that Westbrook is trying to become more efficient at playing their game.

Oklahoma City acquired a player this offseason that could help Westbrook spend more time off the ball, so perhaps he is preparing for that.

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