The Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the most dynamic players in the NBA today. Fans lineup from all around the world to watch as this one player takes on all comers armed with only determination. Russell Westbrook has taken on the rest of the NBA during the 2017 season and is leading the Thunder into the playoffs. Geared with a possible MVP award, and the most triple-doubles in NBA history, Westbrook is redefining the modern NBA game.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have to help Russell Westbrook in the playoffs.
Not only is Westbrook leading Oklahoma City in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, he’s doing so in record fashion. Westbrook’s triple-doubles are just a small testament to what he’s had to do to put OKC in a position for the playoffs. Now, with the playoffs approaching, Westbrook is going to need some backup.
Kanter, Oladipo, & Roberson
Enes Kanter and Victor Oladipo have been the most help offensively. Kanter is averaging 14.4 points a game and Oladipo is averaging 16.4 points a game. Honestly, they both should be closer to 20 points a game versus 15. However, Oladipo is shooting a career high 44% from the field and 37% from three and Kanter is shooting 55% on the season.
After Oladipo and Kanter, Oklahoma City loses its offensive edge. Steven Adams has shown some glimpses of his offensive talent, averaging 11.5 points a game. However, it’s a far cry to his offensive outburst he displayed during the playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs last season. Andre Roberson, the Thunder’s most elite defender is averaging a career high 6.8 points a game. Although, he is shooting a woeful 24% from three point ranger. Roberson has shown that he can contribute offensively at times this season. However, it’s not as consistent as fans would like.
Gibson & McDermott
The two newest members of the Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be struggling to find their place within the offense. Taj Gibson is by far the more consistent player of the two, averaging 8.6 points a game on 50% shooting in 18 games for the Thunder.
Doug McDermott is struggling with inconsistent minutes, which is wrecking his shooting percentage. In his last five games, he’s played a total 41 minutes, taken a total of 10 shots, and scored 10 points. To be fair, McDermott is in the same position as former Thunder player Anthony Morrow was. McDermott is having to fight for minutes. Minutes that are being taken by Domantis Sabonis and Alex Abrines. As of now, it’s unclear if McDermott will see more minutes come playoff time. McDermott could be a key for the Thunder’s success. However, he has to see the floor more consistently.
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan has always used his bench players in different combinations and rotations. However, one thing is clear. The Oklahoma City are struggling to find a lineup that can help Westbrook with some offensive firepower. If Oklahoma City doesn’t get McDermott, Gibson, and Adams more involved offensively, it might be an early exit for the Thunder in the playoffs.
Right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder would play the Houston Rockets in the first round. Houston won the regular season match-up with the Thunder 3-1. Ideally, the Oklahoma City Thunder would much rather take on either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Utah Jazz in the first round. However, the Thunder are currently three games behind the Clippers and 3 1/2 games behind the Jazz.
With six games remaining the NBA will watch as Westbrook closes in on Oscar Robertson‘s triple-double record. Westbrook only needs one more to tie Robertson at 41. However, getting a fifth or even a fourth place seed in the playoffs is as equally important as the Big O’s record.