Is Russell Westbrook to blame?

Let's do a little exercise. I want you to count nine Mississippis.

One Mississippi.
Two Mississippi.
Three Mississippi.
Four Mississippi.
Five Mississippi.
Six Mississippi.
Seven Mississippi.
Eight Mississippi.
Nine Mississippi.

Whew! Seems long, right? Next step: Do the same thing, but this time while you're counting to nine, I want you to imagine Russell Westbrook dribbling the ball.

I'll wait right here.


So that felt unbearably long, huh? There's a reason we did that. That is the average length of time that Westbrook has possessed the ball in between passes this postseason. Actually, it's 8.7 seconds, to be exact. Sometimes it's longer than that, sometimes a bit shorter. Almost nine seconds on average.

This is what we've learned from SportVU's 3D cameras that have tracked every possession of every game this season. Westbrook pounds the ball more than anybody in the NBA. In the regular season, Westbrook received a HabersTrophy in the ball-hogging category by averaging 7.8 seconds of possession between passes, the highest such rate in the NBA during the regular season.

You thought that was sticky? The ball has been sticking like glue this postseason. Westbrook's NBA-high ball-hogging rate has now crept up in the postseason, and he's shooting 34 percent from the floor and 18 percent from downtown. His average time of possession is by far the highest of any point guard this postseason.

And now the Oklahoma City Thunder are one loss away from a first-round exit.