Last seasonʻs playoff ended for the Thunder when they lost a 3-1 lead in a series against the Warriors. Durantʻs contract was over and after a heart-breaking loss, its no surprise that he had soon made headlines about leaving. Furthermore, leaving to join the team that he saw jubilate over what I could only perceive as despair. All people want to be happy, and athletes are no exception. But, its hard to imagine that Westbrook isnʻt subconsciously filled with ecstasy over Durantʻs leave.
I know that it may sound weird. Since when is losing a star that was pivotal to getting far in the playoffs a good thing? Well, it certainly isnʻt. However that may not be the case for Westbrook. During the playoffs and the entire previous season, Westbrook had been ridiculed for his “inability to share the ball.” Durant was the face of OKC, and quite undeniably so, for however many years he was on the team. Now, quite the opposite is true. Durant is the one who is ridiculed and Westbrook is the face of the team. So, yes it may sound weird, but it is quite common to say that people like to be appreciated rather than abhorred.
Also, the MVP race has been changed drastically by this move. Before the move, Durant was the only Thunder player who was considered for MVP. Westbrook was given little thought throughout his career for MVP. Until this year. Now Westbrook has the ability to be himself on the court, without having to worry about media breathing over his neck about why Durant doesnʻt get enough shots or about why he shoots too much. It just him and the basketball, and he has had the best stats of the year because of it. Furthermore, Durant is barely mentioned in the debate for the MVP.
Sure, Durant had greatly increased the odds of the Thunder winning the Finals. But, the Thunder have been to the Finals and another year they were up 3-1 against the red hot Warriors and still failed to secure the title. The fact of the matter is that if you canʻt win in that situation, then what other chance is there, especially with the super teams of the Warriors and Cavaliers. I donʻt want to sound like I am blaming Westbrook for hogging the ball now. In fact, I praise him. I wish more, to put it frank, hopeless teams would shoot for awards like MVP with their stars. What player wouldnʻt want to join a team with an MVP caliber player? There are a few, but there cannot be that many against that when considering free agency.
Thanks for reading. Song