The Russell Westbrook Dilemma
Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/AP
The dust is beginning to settle on one of the wildest off seasons in NBA history.
Parity has returned to the NBA. Big names moved all over the country, but perhaps none were bigger than Kawhi Leonard. Leonard heads to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers, but he’s not alone, with him comes Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both George and Leonard are excellent two way players who bolster an already solid core in Los Angeles. The battle for Los Angeles will be interesting for years to come. Somewhat lost in all this is, former University of California Los Angeles guard, Russell Westbrook.
What’s next for Westbrook?
Westbrook has put up incredible numbers while in OKC, but those numbers haven’t meant much. Since 2016, the Thunder have not made it out of the first round of the NBA playoffs. In those three years though, Westbrook has averaged a triple double each year. His accolades in that same time span include, multiple all-star appearances, scoring champion, Most Valuable Player and All NBA first team, but does it matter? Westbrook is a strange case. Not many times in NBA history have we seen a player with his ability, athleticism and drive, but yet still, somehow, rings have evaded him. With the trade of Paul George, it seems that OKC is ready to move on from Russell Westbrook as well. As Westbrook prepares for his next move, several teams have emerged as intriguing options. The Pistons, Heat and Rockets all make some sense.
Of those teams, moving to the east definitely gives him the best shot for a deep playoff run. The Pistons would have a big three of Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook. The Heat would have Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook. Neither of those two combinations inspire much hope for a championship, but who knows, if they can make the eastern conference final and win a game or two, anything can happen (Not really, but it sounds good). The strange thing is that Westbrook has just never really fit anywhere but alone. He was fun to watch after Kevin Durant left, the MVP season, the determination to prove all the haters wrong, but still, in today’s modern age, teams need more than one superstar and Westbrook can’t seem to keep anyone around.
Wherever Westbrook goes, he will garner some attention. He may be able to help carry a team to the playoffs, however, the fact remains, something about Westbrook has kept him away from a championship. Something has made the dynamic player lose two different all stars while in OKC. No one can quite put their finger on it, after all, almost all of his teammates have said he was a great teammate and watching him play proves its not a lack of talent. It seems Westbrook is just missing “IT” what that is, no one seems to know. Will trading him to a different team help him find “It”? I don’t think so. Westbrook could very easily go down in the same category as Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Karl Malone and John Stockton: Legend’s who never quite got over the hump.