What does Russell Westbrook’s return mean for the Thunder?
Russell Westbrook is one of the best players in the NBA, and the Oklahoma City Thunder finally have him back on the court.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Westbrook is a beast, but OKC needs more than two of the league’s best scorers to compete for an NBA title.
Westbrook’s return yesterday vs. the Phoenix Suns came much to the relief of Oklahoma City who lost by an embarrassing 19 points to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Durant went 4-for-11 from the field and Serge Ibaka only hit three of his 13 shots from the field. Sefolosha, their three-point specialist, went 1-for-8 from the field.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 3, 2013
So in that regard, Westbrook’s return is much appreciated because OKC has very incapable scoring options outside of Kevin Durant…and as the game vs. the T’wolves showed, if KD has an off-game, the Thunder will lose to teams that are not even the best in the West.
I’ve always been a heavy critic of Russell Westbrook—and even gave him the Defensive Player of the Year Award for 2013…why? Well, because I actually created a defensive player for opposing teams Award and “Westbrook is truly one of a kind because he has the ability to hold three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant under 30 points per game on any given night.”
In all seriousness, though, you cannot underrate what 22.8 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game mean to the Thunder over the past three years. Westbrook’s approach to the game can be questioned (which I do quite freely) but his all-out mentality and strong work ethic have shown throughout his career. This is the first time that Westbrook has missed any game on the basketball court since at the earliest his high school days. RW keeps his body in supreme condition and fluke injuries like the one that caused his meniscal tear are due to nothing more than just bad luck.
The playoffs are far away at this point, so for now, Westbrook’s teammates and fans will relish his return.
Photo credit: OKC Twitter and Wenn