Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook(notes) has had an excellent season so far, turning into one of the best point guards in the league and giving the Thunder a second star beside Kevin Durant(notes). Last night against the Rockets, he executed his top highlight in a season already full of them by dunking over Houston defensive stalwart Shane Battier(notes).
In all truth, this posterization isn't a sign of Westbrook's growth as a player. He's been dunking on people ever since he came into the league, and it's not as if athleticism falls away when a player becomes a more dependable distributor.
Nevertheless, this dunk is amazing. Check out the way Westbrook alters the direction of the dunk in mid-air to finish on the left side of the rim even though he took off from the right. It was both supremely athletic and very smart, since it made it impossible for Battier to take one of his beloved charges. Battier has a deserved reputation as one of the league's smartest players, but Westbrook matched him in intelligence this time. Sometimes the most physically impressive plays only happen because of a smart decision.