Oklahoma City Thunder head coach billy donovan was having none of the notion that his star point guard, Russell Westbrook, is easy to guard.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe’s article described how the MVP’s often-rampant style of play was “like cake” for the Golden State Warriors to defend, playing into their strength as a team.

“I think Russell is a pretty challenging guy to guard, in my opinion. I don’t know who made the comments or where the comments came from,” Donovan told Fred Katz of CNHI Oklahoma. “I’m not going to respond to that. Russell to me is one of the best players in the world. He’s done it at a very high level for a long period of time. I don’t know where it comes from, but I’m not really going to comment on any of that.”

While that might be the truth for 28 other teams, the Warriors have proven that they’ve found the key to defending Westbrook, winning all four of their encounters last season by a margin of 19.8 points per game, holding him to 37 percent shooting from the floor and a whopping eight turnovers per game.

Donovan tried once again to defend his starting point guard

“I think Russell has been a very effective, efficient player. I think he has done a lot of great things here,” said Donovan. “Just because somebody says that, I think you’ve got to look at what Russell’s been able to do, and Russell’s been very good for us.”

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The numbers don’t back Donovan, unfortunately — as Westbrook shot 42.5 percent from the field on 24 attempts per game and a feeble 34.3 percent on 7.2 three-point attempts last season as a one-man show for the Thunder.

His 10.4 assists were only compounded by 5.4 turnovers per game, rendering him shy of a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

“Obviously last year our team was totally different than it was the first year, and the first year there it was a heck of a series that went seven games where we had a great opportunity being up 3-1,” said Donovan about the Thunder’s matchup against the Warriors in the 2016 playoffs. “I think Russell was a huge part of that. Last year we didn’t play them in the playoffs, played them in the regular season, but I also think there’s a team out there, there’s five other people out there playing.”

“So, I think Russell, done a great job, and I think Russell is a hard guy to guard, and he’s very difficult and challenging because of his speed, his smarts and his intelligence. Whether or not he plays in the half court or the open court, I think he’s very difficult to guard.”

Donovan was running out of adjectives to laud Westbrook here, but the numbers and the results simply don’t back him as blindly as he backs his star point man.

If he can shift from being the non-stop entertaining wrecking ball he was last season and become part of an All-Star trio moving forward, his game will start to take a jump in efficiency as well as his playoff progress by 2018.