Russell Westbrook Looked Especially Dejected On The Bench After The Thunder’s Latest Loss

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The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to be one of the top challengers to the Golden State Warriors after landing Paul George and Carmelo Anthony over the summer to go along with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook.

The three stars were supposed to make for one of the most formidable offensive squads in the NBA, a mix of great individual scorers that also have the ability to work off the ball and be lethal in spot-up and cutting situations. Instead, the Thunder have been a solid defensive team and a sporadic at best offensive squad that struggles tremendously in late-game situations.

At 8-12, Oklahoma City has fallen far short of initial expectations and the offense has failed to materialize, in the form of the 22nd best offense in the league. On Wednesday night, the Thunder hit a new low with a 121-108 loss to the Magic, dropping their third consecutive game. Afterwards, it was clear their lack of success was taking its toll, not in spats between stars, but in players searching for answers.

Westbrook, in particular, seemed to take the loss hard and took a seat on the bench as everyone walked off the court to just stare at the floor.

It’s possible Westbrook was concerned about his left hand, which he had x-rays on after the game to learn it was only a bruise and nothing more severe.

In any case, it’s clear the Thunder are lost right now. This isn’t a matter a switch needing to be flipped, but a team that doesn’t know what its identity is and hasn’t figured out how to maximize all of its parts. Westbrook, George, and Anthony are all dynamic, but none of them are operating at 100 percent as they try to fit together, and that’s causing issues.

To this point, the Thunder have looked at their best when one of their stars takes over, like Westbrook did against Golden State. That isn’t what they want and it’s not exactly sustainable, but it’s certainly been more effective than the alternative, which is all three looking somewhat tentative and uncomfortable on the floor.

There’s plenty of time for Oklahoma City to turn things around. They still have a positive net rating and one of the league’s best defenses. One would think with how much offensive talent is on the roster, they will figure things out, but it’s been far more of an uphill battle than they hoped or expected. It might take some soul-searching and end with more nights staring into the void before they get it right.