Russell Westbrook was the engine for the Thunder in the NBA playoffs, but as we found out Tuesday night, it wasn't enough. Still, it's pretty amazing that a single player could mean so much to a team. It's reminiscent of what Michael Jordan meant to the fictitious team from "Space Jam" — the Tune Squad.
In fact, the Thunder actually used Westbrook more than the Tune Squad needed arguably the best player to ever play the sport of basketball.
Russell Westbrook's usage pct in the 1st Round (46%) was greater than Michael Jordan's vs the Monstars (44%).https://t.co/us7sK4KCQ3
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) April 26, 2017
Thanks to ridiculous data compiled by Harvard Sports in 2011, we know Jordan's usage percentage on Tune Squad from the film. Basketball Reference defines usage percentage as "an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor."
Jordan needed to take over so much because his teammates were trash. He had Bill Murray, Stan Podolak (Newman from "Seinfeld") and Sniffles The Mouse (height was a major disadvantage) to name a few. Sure, he had Lola and Bugs Bunny, but how good were they really?
So it's pretty telling that the Thunder needed Westbrook more than the Tune Squad roster needed Jordan, even if we are comparing real life to a movie roster. As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, in the six minutes Westbrook sat in Game 5, the Rockets outscored the Thunder 27-9.
Saying Westbrook needs help is like beating a dead horse at this point, but it's true. The fact he averaged a triple double (37.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 10.8 assists) in this series and his team only won one game is very telling.