With Thunder coming off of a tough game 6 loss to Spurs yesterday, they begin their off-season. With retiring players, and possibly even finding a new coach, this will be an interesting off-season for OKC. However, the Thunder could turn an interesting off-season into a crazy off-season with one trade involving Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook is a 3 time all star, who could possibly be the best point guard in the league in a couple of years. He is the second most explosive player in league, behind Lebron James, and is possibly the second greatest athlete in the game, behind Lebron James. However, although he has unbelievable talent and skill, there seems to be a struggle for him and the MVP, Kevin Durant, to win the ultimate goal: The NBA Finals
This year, they almost did not even make it out of the first round! The Memphis Grizzlies gave them serious trouble on offense, and almost upset the 2 seed. However, with Zach Randolph being suspended, the Grizzlies stood no chance in game 7 as the Thunder took the game 120-109.
Throughout the first round, and then the entire playoffs, I saw Kevin Durant call for the ball, and then Russell Westbrook or Reggie Jackson force a shot or drive. A lot of the problem is on Kevin, as he is sitting in the corner and needs to come take the ball, but Reggie and Westbrook need to realize that he needs the ball.
Usually, I would see this occurrence in late in games, and Durant would not touch the ball. For example, last night against the Spurs Russell Westbrook shot the ball 7 times in OT, while Durant shot three times. Although Durant did not make any of the three, and fell short, it takes a couple of shots to get into a rhythm.
Throughout the entire playoffs, I have wanted to say that they do not complement each other. However, every time I look back at the stats and look back at the Thunder, Kevin leads the stats and the Thunder keep winning. The Thunder have a better record with Westbrook out, but a 32-15 record is nothing to diminish. I actually expected Durant's shooting numbers to rise when Westbrook was out, but what I found was that he was just more efficient. He still shot 10 free throws and 20 FGA, but he stepped up his game while Westbrook was out.
I want to say that Westbrook does not complement Durant, but when Durant still averages 50% shooting with Westbrook, win 32 of 47 games, and come 2 games of reaching the Finals, there are no major changes needed within the players. They might not be Stockton and Malone, but their explosiveness and thought process helps the Thunder win games. Deciding who takes the shots late in games will have to be fixed, as I don't like some of Westbrook's shot selection late in games, but that will come with experience and possibly a new coach.
Besides, there has been no controversy in the locker room, and they obviously seem to love each other, as Durant raves on Westbrook in his MVP speech:
Does Russell Westbrook complement Durant? Well, they win games and that's all that matters.