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#pounditTuesday, February 27, 2024

Billy Donovan: Russell Westbrook likely to see increased playoff workload

Russell Westbrook

The Oklahoma City Thunder were careful to avoid overworking Russell Westbrook during the regular season, but those restrictions are off for the playoffs.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan admitted that Westbrook will almost certainly see more action during the NBA playoffs.

“Yes, I do see his minutes going up in the playoffs,” Donovan said, via ESPN’s Royce Young. “But I see a lot of our guys’ minutes potentially going up.”

Westbrook averaged 34.6 minutes per game during the regular season, a modest total for someone who is so important to his team. He didn’t play 40 minutes in any regulation game all season, either.

Donovan credited the team’s medical staff for helping devise a good plan to manage Westbrook’s minutes.

“The medical staff does a great job with all his data throughout his entire career, how many minutes he’s played, all those kind of things,” Donovan said. “And you also want to help him in his minutes, putting him in a position where he can be an efficient and effective player. Thirty-five, thirty-four, thirty-six minutes, somewhere in that range we felt like was a really good number, just based on the medical staff looking back on his career.”

Westbrook has been on the floor for the pivotal moments. It’s a credit to him and the team that he was able to put up such ridiculous numbers and still be managed well.


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