Russell Westbrook And The Thunder Are Facing A Critical Offseason

05.10.17 6 months ago 7 Comments

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There isn’t much left to say about Russell Westbrook‘s remarkable season. The hyperbole’s all been used up, and every bit of it was justified. And pay no attention to the wonks who want to argue that someone other than Russ is this season’s MVP. They are grossly over-thinking it. Russ is the MVP, and it’s not even a debate. I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise (and by “fight,” I mean politely disagree).

But he and the Thunder also promptly got bounced right out of the first round of the playoffs, which leads to a much more compelling question. What do the Thunder have to do this offseason to make sure that doesn’t happen again next year? Or better yet, what can they do?

The difficult truth about the Season of Russ was that it was largely born out of necessity. The Thunder were pretty awful when he wasn’t on the floor, and by sheer force of will he dragged an otherwise mediocre squad by its Kyle Singler hair to 47 wins (just eight fewer than last season) and a sixth place finish in the loaded West.

For this and many other reasons, Westbrook is beloved around Oklahoma City. His charitable work in children’s literacy and with impoverished families have had a tremendous impact on his community. More generally speaking, folks around OKC appreciate his loyalty, particularly in light of Kevin Durant’s defection to the Warriors.

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