Russell Westbrook.

OKC coach believes Russell Westbrook is ready to lead the Thunder

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There is no doubt that Kevin Durant's move from the Golden State Warriors to the Oklahoma City Thunder has been the major story of this summer.

Although it had been rumoured, nobody really believed that KD would turn his back on OKC after nine hard-fought years and join the side that knocked them out of the playoffs last term.

Least of all, it would appear, Russell Westbrook.

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The fractured relationship between Durant and Westbrook has become a story of it's own, but Thunder coach Billy Donovan is seeing the positives.

Appearing opposite Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast, Donovan said that Westbrook - a triple-double machine in his own right - is ready to lead the players around him now Durant has departed.

“The first thing about Russell, being around him, is he wants to win at the highest level,” Donovan said. “I think the second thing about him is amazing, being around him he’s extremely bright and he’s smart and he’s got a great feel. And the third thing is he’s very, very well prepared.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns

"I think a lot of times what people can look to or point to is when you have Serge [Ibaka] leaving and obviously Kevin leaving is this idea that maybe Russell now takes over more, and I think that he really understands that he’s got to make everybody around him better."

Everybody knows that Westbrook is a stat-stuffing maniac, but if he can indeed make the players around him better in the process, then the Thunder should still consider themselves contenders next year.

He's that good - with or without KD.

Western Conference
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Kevin Durant

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