Much is being made of Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks' decision to bench All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter of the team's Game 2 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Lost in the drama of the Westbrook controversy is the fact that the reason Brooks can make that call and come away with a win is because Eric Maynor, the team's back-up point guard, is exceptional in his role.
Maynor is one of the better back-up point guard's in the league; in this series, more attention was paid to super-scorer J.J. Barea of Dallas, owing to the diminutive Puerto Rican's 21-point Game 1 outburst. But Maynor is a more traditional point guard, a playmaker and floor general who offers depth at a crucial position, depth most teams wish for.
It's interesting, because coming out of Virginia Commonwealth two years ago, Maynor was pegged as a combo guard scoring machine who'd have trouble fitting himself into a role; since coming over to the Thunder from the Utah Jazz in 2010 -- the Jazz needed to dump Matt Harpring's salary to escape the luxury tax, and Maynor was the sweetener -- he's been a dependable, consistent bench player for Brooks.
Until Westbrook gets his floor leadership to a point where the Thunder can't live without it, Brooks is going to have the option of turning to Maynor to run the team. That's both an incentive to Russ and a nice reality in the interim.
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