The Oklahoma City Thunder are an impressive 34-13 this season, but there has not been a lot of talk about them. Fans and members of the media have mostly been talking about the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Stephen Curry has taken his game to another level, the Spurs have the best points-per-game differential in the league and the Cavaliers just hired a new head coach in the middle of the season.
The only discussions about the Thunder are usually surrounding Kevin Durant’s impending free agency. Durant might be entering free agency, but Russell Westbrook has been doing his best to show Durant that it would be a bad decision to leave the Thunder.
Westbrook is averaging 24.1 points, a career-high 2.5 steals and a career-high 9.7 assists this season. Westbrook has also played all 47 games this year and has the third-most triple doubles this season (five). Durant has only played 40 games this season, but at least he doesn’t have to worry as much about the team because Westbrook has been there for every game.
Many believe that Westbrook gets in Durant’s way because Westbrook takes too many shots and he doesn’t give the ball to Durant when he needs to. Although Westbrook is still aggressive, his assists and his mentality as a point guard have improved. The Thunder still often have moments where Westbrook and Durant switch in terms of who is the main focus during a game, but there is a reason Westbrook is shooting the best he’s shot since the 2011-12 season.
With the elevation of the point guard position in the last several years, it is more important than ever for Westbrook to become a better player. Although Durant is important, the Western Conference has usually had a very good point guard leading the way for a championship in the past few seasons.