When watching the Oklahoma City Thunder it’s no secret that Kevin Durant is the best player on the team. The NBA MVP is the team’s greatest asset, but it doesn’t appear that he is the “alpha dog” for the squad; that role is held by Russell Westbrook. This is taking nothing away from Westbrook’s greatness, but in order for the Thunder to get over the hump there needs to be a change in roles.
During last night’s playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs, it appeared that Durant was out of sync, and Westbrook was more than upset with his teammate. Durant is laid back while Westbrook is as passionate as they come, so the two need to find that perfect blend that can propel them to the next level. There are times on the court when Durant is too passive and the opposite can be said for Westbrook. When watching the Thunder play, at times they seem as if they can wreck the NBA for the next 10 years as a force, and then in an instance it looks like they can’t play together.
I don’t believe the Thunder should get rid of Westbrook at any given moment, but it needs to be clear the team belongs to No. 35. Westbrook has such a dominating personality and aggressive mentality that it will be hard to convert overnight, but it needs to happen soon enough.
The Miami Heat sort of had this issue during the first season when the “Big 3” came together. There were times when it felt that the team did not know who the top dog was, but eventually Dwyane Wade relinquished that status and gave the keys to the team to LeBron James. Since then the Heat have won two NBA titles and seem to be en route for another one.
Westbrook needs to take a page out of Wade’s book and willingly let Durant know the Thunder are his team; there is nothing wrong with being the team’s 1B or No. 2 player.
Whenever that time comes the Thunder may be able to hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy, but until then they’ll be on the outside looking in.