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Rick Barry: Celtics Jay Team has "Russell Westbrook Syndrome"

 I have not been a Rick Barry fan since I watched him belittle the great Bill Russell on National TV. But he recently spoke of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as suffering from the Russell Westbrook Syndrome. Was he right? (per SI's Eric Jay Santos):


Barry: “Both (Jaylen) Brown and (Jayson) Tatum, who are two talented players, suffer from what I call (Russell) Westbrook syndrome. Westbrook is an incredible talent. I love how hard he plays, but he tries to force things. In the game of basketball, you should always be taking what the defense gives you… Both Jaylen and Jayson, they have a tendency to force things and end up getting a lot of turnovers.”

Barry is known as one of the top passing forwards in the history of the NBA, and I do tend to agree with his assessment. I checked the numbers for the 2023 post-season via NBA.com, and sure-enough - Westbrook averaged the third-most turnovers (4.0 per game).

Brown comes in at number-15 for turnovers in the playoffs. He has almost as many turnovers (3.3 per game) as assists (3.4 APG). That gives him an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.03, good (bad?) enough for third place (third-worst) for this post-season.

Tatum comes in much better - coming in at #23 for playoff turnovers. He averaged 5.3 assists per game and 2.8 turnovers - for an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.88 - which puts him at a comfortable 55th in the rankings.

It may have been a bit unfair for Rick to call out Jayson Tatum for forcing his offense, although he is known to try to do too much at times. But Jaylen Brown needs to get better at passing the ball - being more careful on his drives - and trying to get his teammates more-involved in the offense. 

Brown is due for a massive extension (or not) depending on how much he is valued by Brad Stevens - and whether he can change his game and become more of a team player.



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