Russell Westbrook will miss the rest of the season after he has surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in the knee. While this is a major blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team might actually benefit in his absence. It’s now up to Kevin Durant to prove that he is one of the elite players in the NBA and lead his team back to the Finals. It has been debated that Westbrook takes away from Durant’s game, and now it’s time to see if Durant needs the all-star point guard.
The Thunder still have a very good team that is deep enough to get by the San Antonio Spurs and get another shot at redemption to winning their first title in franchise history. Personally, I believe Oklahoma will do just fine without Westbrook. This is Durant’s moment to shine and have the offense completely run through him. He has the ability to take over games like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, but because of Westbrook, Durant hasn’t been given the chance to show what he can do in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
This may seem like a critical blow to the young, experienced squad, but with the pieces they have like Derek Fisher, Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, and Kevin Martin, there is still a good chance that they’ll get far. Without Westbrook, it’s also an opportunity for these players to step their games up and show that it’s not just two superstars and a bunch of role players. This is when we find out what teams are made of. Is the Oklahoma City Thunder a sponge that when dry, will break easily, or are they a rock that won’t be broken in the time of extreme adversity. If Durant truly is one of the best players in the NBA today, he’ll carry this team back to the Finals and get a shot at his first championship ring.