Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen in Chicago. Dwyane Wade may arguably need LeBron James in Miami this season. Another duo in the NBA may have proven that they need each other as well. Within the past few seasons, it has become almost a faint memory to see both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook play together in Oklahoma City. It is as if you only get one or the other, and just when the two become healthy enough to dual-up, the other one gets hurt. While it is only the preseason, Russell Westbrook has switched roles with KD and will have to lead the Thunder while KD heals from surgery for the next six to eight weeks. In time though, the two will once against dual-up and become the duo that the Oklahoma City Thunder needs.
Russell Westbrook took the night off during their Thursday night preseason game against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans (3-2). It is reported that Westbrook is not injured, and that he will be back and playing in Friday night’s fifth preseason game against the Toronto Raptors. Lacking both Westbrook and Durant only seemed to hurt OKC, who are now 2-2 as they fell significantly short against the Pelicans with an ending score of 120-86. It is clear that both Westbrook and Durant may be the needing factor for the Thunder.
Kevin Durant will miss the next six to eight weeks due to a broken right foot. The reigning MVP surely played a significant role and even when he does come back, he will indefinitely need a few more weeks to be back at his full potential. Even if he will need a little extra time, KD should undoubtedly be just fine and be right back along side with Russell Westbrook in hopes to play better games than the game that was played against New Orleans. KD finished last season by leading the league in scoring an average of 32 points per game, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists, and of course his MVP recognition.
Westbrook missed 36 games last season, which was between December and the All-Star break, due to an arthroscopic surgery to his right knee from a meniscus tear in 2013. In his return though, he played greatly in both the regular season and postseason. Even with having limited play time, he put up numbers and recorded various triple doubles. In a Game 4 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs last season, Westbrook scored 40 points, had 5 rebounds, 10 assists and also added 5 steals in what may have been his best game in last year’s playoffs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has had bad luck with injuries lately. As soon as the NBA preseason came to a start, OKC fans may have anticipated to see their favorite duo back in action. This quickly became a disappointment as KD announced his injury, needed surgery. and which would lead to him having time off. While OKC is still somewhat of a younger and developing team, their fans will have to wait just a little bit longer to see Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back in action to bring further success to their franchise. It did not take long for Westbrook to find his rhythm again after taking time off last season, so it is only a matter of time for Durant to experience the same comeback. In the meantime, Westbrook will lead the Thunder while awaiting KD’s return.
Commentary By Tricia Manalansan
Photo Courtesy So Max O – Creativecommons License