Russell Westbrook: European Offenses Are 10-Times Better Than NBA Offenses

Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook: European Offenses Are 10-Times Better Than NBA Offenses

 

After Oklahoma City’s pre-season Spain tour, the Thunder lost to Real Madrid in overtime by 142-137 prior to beating FC Barcelona 92-89, Russell Westbrook made a bold statement:

 

“I think one thing people don’t realize is guarding teams in Europe. Their offenses are 10 times better than NBA offense just because they move around a lot. A lot of movement and not as much talent so they have to do different things to be able to score the basketball.”

 

While there is no doubt that European leagues have less talent, it is hard to believe that their offenses are that superior to NBA offenses. Granted, out of 82 games, more than half of the games aren’t played with 100% of effort. It wouldn’t be possible to do so, considering the intensity and frequency of games.

I often watch European leagues (German League, Spanish League, EuroLeague etc) and while I have to say that the game is played differently in Europe – the team is always more important than a star player, the offense never runs plays for only the star, it is more team oriented and efficient – I don’t think it is far superior. Basketball historians love European basketball, because it is played more traditionally than NBA basketball. The intensity is higher, teams already defend with a full-court press in the first quarter, coaches get mad when a player jacks up a contested shot and the focus is on ball-movement. This could easily also describe the San Antonio Spurs style of basketball and that’s one of the main reasons why I have to disagree with Russell Westbrook.

I think the main reason why NBA offenses operate differently is the frequency of games. During an NBA season, every team plays 82 games (PLUS Playoffs) while in European leagues teams only play half as much. There are no back-to-back games, or even back-to-back-to backs and games are played in four ten-minute quarters. In league mode (International leagues are different), teams don’t have to travel as far and have more time to practice. Come playoff time, you see NBA teams change their intensity and also improve ball-movement and efficiency. I think you can’t compare the NBA to Europe in general, because of the different systems.

 

 

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