Tonight, the (20-10) Oklahoma City Thunder and the (16-15) Sacramento Kings faced off for the third time this season. The OKC Thunder won the battle against their west coast adversaries in the Kings, 132-113. However, throughout the two teams’ head-to-head matchup many basketball enthusiasts were perplexed to find out who was the faster NBA point guard, De’Aaron Fox or Russell Westbrook, after Fox proclaimed that he was the NBA’s fastest player while speaking to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports on his podcast platform.
De’Aaron Fox Crowns Himself The NBA’s Fastest Athlete
On the inaugural episode of the Posted Up with Chris Haynes: A Yahoo Sports Podcast set to release in totality on December 24th, De’Aaron Fox dropped one of the hottest takes of this slowly developing NBA season, claiming that he is the NBA’s fastest player today.
“I’m the fastest person in the league… People debate it all the time. [Debating if I’m one of the] top three or four fastest players in the league. Nah, I’m not up there. I’m No. 1. … I be watching film and I be looking at my feet and I be like, ‘Man, there’s no way people think I’m not the fastest person.”
“I’m faster than John Wall. I’m faster than John. Russ is extremely explosive. I’m faster than Westbrook. … If we’re talking about from baseline to baseline with the ball in my hands, I’m definitely the fastest person in the league.”
Honestly, as spectators, De’Aaron Fox does have a solid argument as the second-year Kings’ frontman is currently averaging a total of 17.9 points per game on 47.7% shooting from the field while dishing out an average of 7.3 assists per game to his Kings counterparts. But is his argument factual?
Who’s Faster in Real-Time Gameplay: De’Aaron Fox or Russell Westbrook?
After viewing the second and fourth quarter thrashing of the Sacramento Kings by the Oklahoma City Thunder and the 43-point performance of Paul George that took place earlier this evening, Fox might want to refocus his priorities on the school-yard ‘who’s the fastest kid on the playground?’ conflict.
De’Aaron Fox did have a stellar individual performance against Westbrook and the Thunder logging a total of 28 points on 10-18 shooting while passing out a total of 12 dimes. However, Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double performance of 19 points, 11 rebounds, 17 assists, and six steals making his overall production a little more superior than his budding rival in De’Aaron Fox.
What we did notice from the comfort of our own homes is that Russell Westbrook displayed better downhill speed and strength that knocked off defenders like Fox and Buddy Hield (who added 37 points of his own) while De’Aaron Fox’s lateral speed appeared to rule supreme over Westbrook’s making him the more elusive and a tough guard.
Speed is an important factor in today’s NBA climate with all positions on the court becoming more fluid. Still, it remains a hard stat to measure in the midst of real-time gameplay when both teams are attempting to run effective offensive and defensive schemes.
At this point, the edge might lean in the direction of Russell Westbrook as the NBA’s fastest athlete with De’Aaron Fox right on his heels. But, in time and as Westbrook ages, now in his twelfth year in the NBA, Fox will an advantage as they both progress.
Maybe, Adam Silver should consider implementing a skills challenge that strictly utilizes speed as a focal point as a potential future NBA All-Star Weekend activity for those up to the challenge?
Until then, as basketball analysts and fans let us all bask in the glory of today’s freakishly insane athletism that at one point did not exist.