The NBA and its fans will surely miss watching the one-man wrecking crew known as Russell Westbrook.
We were lucky enough to watch the triple-double averaging MVP play with an incredible passion that left his opponents questioning how they could contain him. Westbrook had a historic and record-breaking season, he averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assist, and 10.7 rebounds per game, a stat-line for the ages.
The MVP. 🏆@russwest44‘s Top 10 plays from the 2016-2017 season! ⚡️
— Leading Sports Media (@LeadingSports_) August 13, 2017
But with superstars teaming up left and right, one man teams usually do not get past the first round.
Last year Westbrook and his Oklahoma City Thunder finished sixth in the Western Conference, and were ultimately dumped out of the postseason in the first-round despite Westbrook averaging a triple-double once again. He managed to account for 11.6 rebounds 10.8 assists and 37.4 points per contest against the Houston Rockets.
Last season Westbrook had way too much on his plate, arguably his best teammate Enes Kanter was unable to stay on the court in the playoffs, he played a measly nine minutes per game. Kanter was incapable of playing defense, and he didn’t play much of a role anywhere in the playoffs either, he had 4.8 points and 1.8 rebounds, a dismal showing.
The Thunder had to do something, and they did. They traded incredibly replaceable players for the All-Star forward Paul George.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) July 13, 2017
Former second overall pick Victor Oladipo, who should be considered a third or even fourth option, scored nearly 16 points per game, but was never consistent. And forward Domantas Sabonis, who showed potential, was only able to put just under six points a night. Sabonis will most likely be a role player throughout his career, and Oladipo never really got going in Oklahoma, so trading these two players for the elite George was quite the steal.
OKC didn’t stop at George, they needed three-point shooting desperately, so they signed veteran point guard Raymond Felton who shot 44.4-percent from three in the playoffs last year, and stretch four Patrick Patterson, who shot 37.2-percent from beyond the arc last season.
The team also retained lock down defender Andre Roberson, he has no offense, but can sure play defense. Roberson recored 1.2 steals, one block and 5.1 rebounds a game, but only shot 24.5-percent from three.
The Thunder are poised to compete for a championship, simply because George and Westbrook will be better than Durant and Westbrook were, as the former Indiana Pacers two-way star offers a lot more defensively than Durant did during his Oklahoma tenure.
After these offseason moves, the Thunder are poised to compete in an already stacked Western Conference, with Westbrook and George leading the way.
New teammates Russell Westbrook and Paul George spent the day fishing together at the Celebrity Fishing Tournament in Los Angeles. 🎣 pic.twitter.com/LrXG9QTZhl
— The Fuzz (@TheFuzzNBA) August 14, 2017
Final Grade: A-