NBA Trade Rumors: Oklahoma City Thunder Dealing Russell Westbrook Would Be a Huge Mistake

By Matt Barnes
Russel Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Alonzo J. Adams-USA Today Sports

Whoever mentioned this proposition to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the media surely was dropped on their head as a youngster. Recently, Russell Westbrook‘s name has been under speculation involving potential trades for Rajon Rondo, questioning the compatibility between the All-Star guard and MVP Kevin Durant. I have one thing to say to those who suggest Westbrook’s talents would be better suited somewhere else: wake up.

Westbrook is arguably the most athletic player this beautiful game has ever witnessed, no disrespect to LeBron James and Derrick Rose. He drags Oklahoma City out of the sluggish mud they dive into when Durant can’t quite find his stroke. His lightning quick first step allowed him to speed past the likes of Tony Parker, Chris Paul and Mike Conley in the 2014 playoffs, providing the Thunder with the necessary spark they desperately needed in each of those three playoff series. His adept ball handling skills allow him to strife through double teams, obtaining nearly any shot he pleases on the basketball court. When he is not lighting it up from mid-range and three, he finishes with dominating authority at the rim with his monstrous, rim-rattling dunks.

At times, it can be hard to neglect his glaring weaknesses: his temper, turnovers, shot selection (at times). Emotion drives Westbrook on the court, which sometimes gets him into a sticky wicket. When his temper is under control, so is his game.

He is graced with responsibility of running an offense designed around Durant, the second best player in the NBA who demands more double teams than nearly any other player. Westbrook is tasked with the duty of making sound decisions such as when to shoot, drive, pass or involve others. The point guards responsibilities outweigh all of the other positions. Westbrook has exemplified poise, passion and at times, eye-popping skill under some of the most adverse circumstances.

Westbrook is the tool that fixes problems in Oklahoma City. Durant is their best player, but not their most important player. That title belongs to the UCLA grad. As an OKC fan, I’ll rue the day Sam Presti lets Westbrook slip away. He is rare breed of athlete who simply wears his emotion on his sleeve, which sometimes gets him into trouble. One thing is for certain, he is one of the most unique basketball players in the NBA in the most beautiful way. Releasing this multi-threat catalyst would surely doom the future of the Thunder.

Durant perhaps said it best during his MVP speech: “A lot of people put unfair criticism on you as a player, and I’m the first to have your back through it all. Just stay the person you are. Everybody loves you here. I love you.” We all love you, Russ.

Matt Barnes is an NBA Writer for Follow him on Twitter @mpb9792. Add him or like him on Facebook or add him on your Google network.

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