Russ: “What if…What is.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 were a team that had Russell Westbrook at point guard, Kevin Durant at small forward, and a young two guard out of Arizona State named James Harden coming off the bench. As these three guys stood alongside each other as LeBron James gets his first title with the Miami Heat, these guys knew they had a legitimate chance to get back to this mountain again. Over the next 4 years, this team was regularly in contention for a championship except for when Westbrook or Durant got hurt. Harden didn’t re-sign with the Thunder in 2012 and was traded to the Houston Rockets for players and picks that would become Steven Adams and Alex Abrines for OKC. Fast forward to July 2016. Kevin Durant, coming off a loss to the Golden State Warriors (after being up 3-1) in the Western Conference Finals, opts to sign with the very team that eliminated him. Russell Westbrook is now left to fend for himself with Harden and Durant no longer with the franchise. GM Sam Presti that summer trades for Orlando Magic shooting guard Victor Oladipo to put alongside him for the upcoming season. After that one-year run, Presti flips Oladipo to the Indiana Pacers and acquires Paul George. He also swings a trade
that brings Carmelo Anthony over from the NY Knicks. After an early playoff exit, Presti sends Anthony to the Houston Rockets and now it’s the PG13/Russell Westbrook show for the 2018-2019 season. Their season ends as Paul George is defending Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as he pulls a 3 from 35 feet and nails it to bury OKC 4 games to 1 in the opening
playoff matchup in the Western Conference. Westbrook did a lot by averaging a triple double on many occasions. That’s not an easy feat to accomplish. If you look at Russ, you’ve had 2 huge All-Star teammates up and leave you. Does that not wake you up and make you change the way
you play? Durant and now PG13 both have said bro, I love you, but I’m out of here. As great of a player as Russ is, he tends to be the team rather than be part of the team. Does this sound familiar? Has there been a player in NBA history who Russ favors? Oh yes, there was a guy named Allen Iverson. Charles Barkley once spoke of Iverson’s style of play when saying, “It’s me, myself, and Iverson.” Well, in terms of Westbrook, “It’s me, myself, and Westbrook.” No
wonder Durant and PG13 bumped up out of OKC. You can’t play with a guy who’s going to shoot less than 30% from 3 and 60% from the free throw line, especially with stats like these
from a point guard. In today’s three and D style of play in the NBA, it simply won’t work. Westbrook has quickly become an enigma of a player: amazing to watch but a pain to have as a
teammate. Much like his predecessor Allen Iverson, neither wants other stars to help them win championships and that will be Westbrook’s legacy from now until the day he steps off the
hardwood for the final time.

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