Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has seen plenty of ups and downs since he joined the NBA in 2007. His journey began in Oklahoma City and then took him to Golden State up until he signed with Brooklyn two summers ago. Thunder fans still haven’t forgotten about him signing with the Warriors in free agency, but it clearly worked out for Durant because he went on to win two titles.
We all remember the drama that ensued between Russell Westbrook and KD following his departure from OKC in 2016. The former teammates went from sharing the court together to taking shots at one another whenever the opportunity arose. Here we are five years later, and Durant’s decision to leave the Thunder is somehow still being validated.
Westbrook went on to win MVP the year after Durant’s. departure, but he’s yet to win a championship. He was traded to the Lakers during the offseason with the expectation that he’d win his first title alongside LeBron James, but things haven’t been working out for him. Westbrook is averaging 19.3 points per game (the lowest since his third year in the league), 8.2 rebounds and 8.7 assists in 35.2 minutes per game. That sounds pretty solid, right?
Well, he’s also averaging 4.9 turnovers a game, the second-worst in the league. And we’ll get into some of his shooting splits in a moment.
Though Westbrook averages a healthy amount of assists per game for his career, most NBA fans would say he turns into a black hole at times, refusing to distribute and forcing up low-percentage shots while also bricking wide open looks from the 3-point line to the baseline.
Do Russell Westbrook’s stats prove why Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant left OKC?
We’ll never know for sure if Westbrook and KD would’ve won a title together beyond the 2015-16 season, but who can blame Durant for making the decision to move on?
Let’s compare Durant’s and Westbrook’s numbers. One is shooting 42.9% from the field and 28.8% from the 3-point line, while the other is shooting 56.7% from the field and 42.7% from deep. It’s not hard to tell which of those stat lines belongs to KD.
Not to mention, Los Angeles was expected to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference. As of right now, the Lakers are in eighth place with a 9-9 record. Brooklyn has a 12-5 record and is in second in the East. Both teams have dealt with injuries and have been without key players, but Durant’s fared far better than Westbrook.
Durant’s in the MVP conversation, meanwhile Westbrook’s fit in Los Angeles is looking more questionable by the day. It’s still early, but Westbrook hasn’t meshed well in a lineup that features both James and Anthony Davis. If the Lakers’ season continues to trend in its current direction, maybe Oklahoma City will finally be able to come to terms with KD leaving.