Fresh off his pretty new deal with Oklahoma City, it’s Westbrook’s time to take the reigns and shine with KD gone.
Westbrook has already established himself as a definite top five player in the NBA, and arguably surpassing Steph Curry as the number one point guard. Westbrook is everything you want in not just a basketball player, but an athlete in general. From his vicious attacks to the rim, to his lock-up defense, to his reliable jump shot, to his animalistic attitude on the court. He has it all. And now with Durant gone, he has the spotlight on him as well.
Losing Durant was obviously a huge blow to this team. They immediately go from a perennial contender to a team fighting to even make a playoff spot. Yes, they still have some nice players like Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, and Enes Kanter, plus they added some nice weapons such as up-and-coming shooting guard Victor Oladipo and promising prospect Domatas Sabonis, but they still have a massive hole left by Durant that is going to be extremely hard to fill.
Even with the loss of KD, you still can never, and I mean never, count the Thunder out of anything. That’s why Thunder fans shouldn’t be worried about if their team will be good anymore. As long as they have a healthy number 0 in the back court, opposing teams should have a serious game plan for OKC. Westbrook is just that good. NBA experts have even ranked the Thunder in the top 10 for power rankings solely because of Westbrook. The one-and-only Stephen A. Smith of ESPN First Take said the Thunder are the only team that can challenge the Warriors in the west despite the talent-filled teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. All because of Russell Westbrook.
That’s why re-signing Westbrook despite the expected overflow of people saying he should get traded and OKC should start from scratch was so crucial and brilliant by Thunder general manager Sam Presti. Who cares if Kevin Durant decided to be a jerk and leave. Yeah it hurts, but you still have a superstar who some would say is even better than Durant. I know I would. Now, as the general manager, you must do whatever it takes to hold onto him and make sure he doesn’t leave you too. Kudos to Presti for doing just that. I gotta be honest, I wasn’t sure what would happen with Westbrook. But aside from joining the Knicks in free agency, Westbrook staying in OKC is what I had hoped would happen and I’m glad it did.
Now is the time for Westbrook to prove his money’s worth even more than he already has since he is the pure leader of this Thunder team. There is absolutely nothing holding him back. He’s already been off to a blazing fast start in his first two games, racking up 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists in game one, and then showing complete domination in game two with a triple-double of 51 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists. That was the first 50 point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975. Talk about a hot start.
The crazy thing is, though, that we shouldn’t be surprised about this hot start. I’m definitely not. In fact, we should be expecting this kind of play all year long from Westbrook. He single-handedly makes the Thunder still a legitimate team feared by opponents. He possesses all the physical and mental tools to carry this team as far as he wants to. Besides winning a championship, this has been the moment in his career Westbrook has been waiting for.
So this right here is the golden opportunity for Westbrook. Even if he hasn’t said it publicly, this is a situation where him and almost every other athlete in general have dreamed about. The moment where you get to be the lead dog on your team and prove to the world just how great you really are. It is the ultimate test for Westbrook, but he is ready to attack it.
So to all you Thunder fans reading this, first off thank you. Second, don’t be worried about your team. They will be fine as long as they have Westbrook. It’s Westbrooks time to shine, and every other team in the NBA needs to watch out because that is one scary thing to think about, let alone go up against on the court.