After the big announcement that Brodie would extend his current contract to stay in Oklahoma City, this week we highlight the reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook.
OKC boomed this offseason by acquiring two Eastern Conference All-Stars in order to try and knock off the juggernaut in the Bay Area.
Westbrook cashed in throughout the entire 16-17 year, solidifying himself as a top 5 player in the league. Kevin Durant’s departure from the Thunder gave Westbrook the keys to the kingdom and looks to stay with his current team to compete for the ultimate prize.
One MAJOR trait that Westbrook and Michael Jordan have in common. Love and dedication for the city, the fans, and the game of basketball like no other.
All these franchises going through major makeovers during the offseason definitely does not hurt the NBA, but there is a little bit of a loyalty factor that has dwindled.
Players in today’s league such as John Wall and Damian Lillard have expressed their interest to play out their entire careers with their current teams. It’s a trait that even Kobe Bryant possessed as the Lakers began their decline from the top of the western conference.
Westbrook signing his extension was an indication that he has no desire of “teaming up” with anyone to win a championship. The Thunder did what they had to in order to ensure their star player had a strong supporting cast. Sam Presti is genius. It was just a bonus that those pieces came in the form of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
Westbrook entered the league and was second fiddle to Durant, from Seattle to Oklahoma City, the status quo never changed.
Despite the dominant scorer being present, the point guard was able to increase his output each year. Through his career so far, the former Bruin has averaged around 8 assists per contest while averaging over 22 points.
Those type of stats are equivalent to careers such as John Stockton and the great Steve Nash, dominant passers in the league. Westbrook showed his vision this past season, as he willed his team into a playoff spot.
The Thunder were knocked off by the high octane Houston Rockets, but they were not even projected to make it where they did.
With pre-game ritual dances, snippy answer press conferences, Westbrook is a genuine ball player that people can get behind. Without a doubt, the primary reason the fans rallied behind him when their former superstar Durant parted ways.
Russell Westbrook right now is the embodiment of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Just like Jordan was the Chicago Bulls. Not just by their play on the court, but the symbol they represent to a city or community.
Despite one Finals appearance under his resume, Westbrook has still been able to put together quite an impressive stat sheet.
The Thunder point guard has been elected to the All-Star game six times, and lead the league in scoring twice.
Winning MVP in the fashion he did will be considered one of the best season performances in NBA history. Averaging over 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists put Westbrook in company of only one other person, Oscar Robertson.
With this upgraded Thunder roster the reigning MVP could pose a great threat to the Golden State Warriors. Possibly take the team to a seven game series and meet up with the eventual winners of the eastern conference.
The conquest would surely add to an already impressive resume if he were to win a championship this season. There would be backlash for having an improved roster, but even Jordan did not do it alone. No single individual can win a championship without the right supporting cast.
Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, all players that benefited from the greatness of Michael Jordan. It will be entertaining and interesting to see if Russell Westbrook can bring out the best in his new teammates. Keep the chemistry alive.
There are a number of current players who could chase down Jordan for the title of greatest of all time, but the closest to the throne is King James. The point guard possesses all the necessary skills in order to be in the conversation. He’ll just need to do what James did and bring a championship to the city that drafted him. If any year would be the year, this is it. The Thunder went full “win now” mode and gave the MVP the help he needed. We’ll just have to wait until June to see.