MILWAUKEE — Future Basketball Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd believes Russell Westbrook‘s aggressiveness with the ball is comparable to a Hall of Famer in a different sport.
“He is the [Mike] Tyson of basketball,” Kidd said of Westbrook, prior to Tuesday’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder. “When the jump ball [goes up], he is coming as Tyson did [in getting] off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed and that’s fast and hard. He’s a little different in that case that he’s probably the only one and then I would put [at] 1B in that same category, John Wall. Just that speed of coming at you every time you’re on the floor. There is no kind of walking the ball up; they are coming at you and causing problems.”
Kidd, now the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, was very complimentary of the reigning NBA MVP and his style. The pair exchanged a quick handshake and greetings prior to Tuesday’s game.
“He’s the best in the game,” Kidd said. “Puts a lot of pressure on your defense, offensively and defensively. For him, he can make the adjustment, play with talented guys like [Paul] George and Melo [Carmelo Anthony]. For him, his game doesn’t change. He puts a lot of pressure offensively on that break, just finding the open guy and making the game easy.”
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo knows there is a lot of focus on his matchup with Westbrook, but he wants to keep his mind on what he can control.
“I’m not trying to get into ‘who versus who,'” Antetokounmpo said. “My mindset is getting going tonight and helping my team win. And us playing hard and getting better … we just got to trust our game plan. Do what we do as a team, even though of course they have a lot of weapons, they have a lot of superstars. We just got to trust one another.”
The Thunder’s new style around the power trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony reminds Kidd of another superteam made up of three stars.
“With Oklahoma City, they kind of remind you of the older Miami teams,” Kidd said. “Where live ball turnovers turn into dunks or 3s. So just talking to the guys, we got to be able to take care of the ball and get good shots. But if there are turnovers, understanding Russ is coming no matter what. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
Antetokounmpo was asked if he believes that having three stars on one team, like the Thunder do, is good for the overall health of the league.
“Every team can do whatever they want,” he said. “They can do whatever they want and whatever they believe that go make them win. Some teams believe in having three superstars, four superstars. Other teams believe in building young [talent]. Every team has a different approach and mindset towards the game. They can do whatever they believe.”