Kevin Durant is without a doubt “the man” in Oklahoma City, but the improved play of point guard Russell Westbrook makes the Thunder a legit threat out West. What started last summer at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey has continued throughout the 2010-2011 NBA season, where Westbrook is posting the best numbers of his young career. While teams like Orlando, New Orleans and New Jersey are looking for a second star to keep their franchise players happy, Oklahoma City already has their complimentary All-Star under contract.
In games on last week’s schedule, Westbrook wasn’t only Oklahoma City’s best player, he was the league’s best. Averaging 27 points, 10 assists and three steals in three outings, he led the Thunder to a 3-0 week, helping the team stay in the top half of the Western Conference standings and in position to host an opening round playoff series. Quietly, Westbrook is taking home Eastbay’s Player of the Week honors for the third time this season.
Westbrook’s best performance of the week came against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. With Kevin Durant struggling from the field and the game going into overtime, it was Russell who put the Thunder on his back. He scored 32 points, dished out 11 assists and recorded two steals to help the Thunder prevail 122-118.
With the improved play of Westbrook and the acquisition of Kendrick Perkins, are the Thunder a threat to unseat the Lakers in the playoffs?
Westbrook shoots in the USA colorway of the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse.