For years, Kevin Durant has been the man for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s propelled himself atop the NBA ranks in his short career and even won his first MVP Award last season. Still, there are some people out there who believe that another OKC player — Russell Westbrook — may be a more important piece to the Thunder’s title dreams.
Last season, we saw Durant tear through the league. That is until the NBA playoffs came around and Durant’s numbers dropped. He averaged less points on more shot attempts, all while shooting at a lower field-goal percentage as well. Westbrook, on the other hand, turned it up in the postseason — scoring about five more points per game than he did in the regular season. Westbrook also had one of the best games in NBA playoff history against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 40 points, dished out 10 assists, grabbed five rebounds and tallied up five steals on the night.
Many will deny that Westbrook is the man in OKC, but it is surely something to think about after their playoff performances. Many will ask — how can Westbrook be the best player on OKC when Durant has proven over the years that he’s the man? Well, nothing matters but what we’ve seen lately, and what we saw was Westbrook outplaying Durant almost on a nightly basis during the 2014 NBA playoffs.
The best thing about the whole situation is that these two players are on the same team. It isn’t a competition, but it could one day be a heated debate when it is time for one of these two players to part ways with the Thunder organization. All signs may currently point to the Thunder keeping Durant, but that could change in due time. Westbrook may have a bit more upside than Durant, especially if he can learn to control his sometimes reckless play and use his passing ability to better the players around him. For now, Durant will be looking over his shoulder, wondering if he’s actually the best player on his own team, or if Westbrook is going to change the world’s mind about the matter.