Russell Westbrook’s entire NBA campaign has centered around one thing this season, proving his detractors wrong. As a result, he is in the middle of an almost unparalleled statistical season for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kevin Durant’s exit to Golden State left many wondering what would happen to his old team now that he had formed a legitimate superpower up in The Bay. His former co-star has shouldered the load admirably in his absence.
To say that Westbrook carries the Thunder is almost criminally underselling the situation. In 2016-17, the point guard is the beginning, middle and end of any conversation or effort by the squad.
His entire quest for triple-doubles and scoring outbursts is singularly motivated by the need to secure victory for his club. The numbers have shown that OKC basically needs Russ to dominate in order to compete most nights.
Nowhere have the shortcomings of the team shown more glaringly than in their three losses to Golden State this season. The Warriors have beaten them down convincingly in all three meetings, including a spirited effort in Chesapeake Bay Arena last week.
Durant has scored at an eye-popping average against his old running mates and his supporting cast has proven just as deadly in their meetings. The Dubs hounded Westbrook and he still finished with 47 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a loss.
That is the definition of a problem as no player should be throwing up that kind of prolific line in a loss to any team, but here the Thunder are. They will make the playoffs and might even meet up with KD in Oracle Arena for the first round.
Nothing will come of it though, Westbrook simply lacks the help to conquer a true superteam in Northern California. That leaves Thunder fans and their star in a strange space heading into the second half of the season.
If they can’t exact revenge, then what can they do? Well, the answer is clear for the triple-double machine, dominate Sunday night’s All-Star game. He won an All-Star game MVP last year in Toronto and will have the neon green light in The Big Easy.
Steve Kerr won’t lean too heavily on his guys and Westbrook will have to spring to take advantage. He can make the most of his talents for the moment, but it is almost certain that he would rather be facing off against his former teammates rather than be on their side.
There won’t be any title this year in Oklahoma City, but if things line up, their franchise star could be bringing home some hardware regardless of who he is playing with.
Hopefully, he can take solace in that as a hard season will only get harder as the second half gets ready to kick off.News Now - Sport News