Russell Westbrook could still come good and lead Thunder to glory

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So the enigma of Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder continues.

Before the season, most people would have had the Thunder to finish mid-top of the play-off spots in the Western Conference. However, Scott Brooks finds his team tenth in the standings, two places outside of the top eight. 

This is largely down to injuries to both Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the early stages of the season. Westbrook has played 34 games and Durant has only been fit to play 22 - between them missing at least 30 games.

Westbrook receives a lot of criticism for his performances when Oklahoma lose, with people blaming his decision making and ball handling leading to a poor turnover ratio.

The 26-year-old sits 63rd in the NBA’s assist to turnover ratio standings - a statistic dominated by L.A Clippers All-Star Chris Paul - with two assists to every turnover.

In vital games throughout the season when the Thunder needed a good possession, Westbrook has often turned the ball over or played the wrong pass. When it does go wrong and the media let him know about it, Westbrook is not hasty in giving it back.

It is understandable that he sits so low in the assist-turnover standings when you consider the pace the 4x All-Star plays with. Westbrook is the most explosive point guard in the league. The only other guard who could possible compete with the Oklahoma star is Derrick Rose but through various knee injuries sustained over recent seasons, the Chicago leader has lost some of the explosiveness we were used to seeing in his 2011 MVP season.

When Westbrook does turn up though, be ready to witness something remarkable. Oklahoma played the Orlando Magic on Monday and with Durant absent, Westbrook took over. He finished with 25 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds to record his tenth career triple-double.

However, even when the Thunder have had both their All-Stars on the floor, it just has not quite clicked. Whether that is down to the constantly changing line-ups or not, the Thunder need to sort it out as soon as they can. 

Despite the fourth overall pick having faults in his game, people need to enjoy what they are seeing and that is a freakishly athletic point guard show off what he has to offer.

The Thunder need to win the majority of their remaining games if they are to make a realistic play-off push, but the overpowered Western Conference seems to have other ideas.

New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns are currently fighting it out for the eighth spot and any higher looks slightly optimistic for Scott Brooks’ side with the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks occupying slots six and seven. 

However, if you have Westbrook and last season's MVP in Durant on the floor, almost anything is possible.

Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Chris Paul
LA Clippers
Pacific Division

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