The Oklahoma City Thunder has had trouble over the past few weeks, and the team is now on a two-game losing streak. Their recent play has put the team under a microscope. Everyone seems to have an opinion about why the Thunder is struggling, but no one has any answers. The popular reason everyone seems to go with is that Russell Westbrook is having a negative effect on the team, and has limited Kevin Durant‘s ability to take over games and lead the team.
Regardless of what the problem may be in Oklahoma City, the team has to figure out some answers; sitting back and wondering how something got broken is not going to help fix it. Westbrook is not the problem, but his role on the team may need to be changed. Now that the Thunder has Caron Butler, I believe they should move Westbrook to the shooting guard while Thabo Sefalosha misses time with an injury.
Moving Westbrook to shooting guard gives the Thunder the opportunity to start Reggie Jackson, who has played much better as a starter. It also helps Jeremy Lamb, who has struggled mightily, as his minutes on the court continue to diminish. The Thunder should be able to rely on Butler and Lamb to provide a consistent spark off the bench. Taking the ball out of Westbrook’s hands opens up the court for OKC, and gives the team a more explosive identity. Teams throughout the league would have to adjust to the Thunder’s changes, giving OKC an advantage.
Jackson is capable of putting pressure on defenses with his ability to hit the lane hard and dish the ball out to open shooters. Westbrook and Durant could set up on opposite sides of the court, making it hard for the defense to collapse on either player. No matter what plan Scott Brooks comes up with, I believe his team would greatly benefit from switching Westbrook’s position, even if it were just until Sefalosha returns. It could work out better than expected, and give the Thunder new life heading into the playoffs, rather than having to rely on Jackson and Lamb to be consistent coming off the bench.
Westbrook will most likely remain the starting point guard, but the Thunder should give the switch some thought, seeing as they can afford to make the move while Kendrick Perkins and Sefalosha get healthy. Something different needs to be done in Oklahoma, and I believe this move would be the most effective, without having to change too much about the way the team plays on a nightly basis. Either way, the Thunder will start to gel eventually and everyone will forget about conversations like this. If their troubles continue to shine, then it will be a matter of time before a major change alters the culture of basketball in Oklahoma City.