When Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, the two-time champion and Finals MVP didn’t hear the end of it. He was a traitor. A Coward. Unable to finish the job on his own.
But as we watch Russell Westbrook age alongside Durant, it’s clear why Durant left, which we talked about earlier in the season. Westbrook is by no means a bad player, but he has such obvious shortcomings that prevent contenders from taking the next step.
First, he couldn’t get it done with Durant and James Harden in OKC. Then he couldn’t do it those few years with Durant when they were among the two best teams in the Western Conference. Then the Thunder fell short when Durant left and Paul George was brought to town.
At that point, it was clear the Thunder needed a new direction. He was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he fell short alongside Harden yet again. Maybe it’s not fair this is how we view Westbrook, but he is a common denominator in some capacity. Though Harden’s never won a ring, he was the sole reason the Rockets were in contention alongside the Warriors and Lakers before he was traded.
So are some apologies owed to Durant after he’s carried a depleted Nets roster to first in the conference while Westbrook plays a role in holding the star-studded Lakers back? Undisputed’s Shannon Sharpe thinks so.
Shannon Sharpe criticizing Russell Westbrook vindicates Nets star Kevin Durant.
The Thunder came SO close on multiple occasions, but Westbrook’s lack of clutch shooting, a penchant for turning the ball over (4.0 per game in his postseason career), and insistence on chucking up 3-pointers when he has a career 30% field goal percentage beyond the arc played arguably the biggest role in OKC never capturing a title. Those are all especially concerning because he was the primary ball handler as the starting point guard.
Durant was so clearly the go-to guy, but there was an obvious disconnect between the two stars on the court during their time together in Oklahoma City. Don’t believe us? Durant averaged 21.2 field goal attempts during his postseason career with the Thunder and Westbrook averaged 19.8. Durant shot nearly 7% better from the field and 6% better from the 3-point line, yet they were not even 1.5 shots apart on average.
And that’s got us thinking … if Westbrook wasn’t theoretically holding back Durant all those years, how many rings would KD have? Would he have ever went to Golden State?
Actually, we don’t want to get too in depth about it … because then we have to wonder if Durant would’ve ever have joined the Nets. Scratch all of this. Thanks, Westbrook.