Friday, April 26, 2013

Russell Pippen

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have the potential to become one of the greatest tandems in the history of the NBA.  Like LeBron and D Wade, Shaq and Kobe, Isaiah and Dumars, Stockton and Malone, or Jordan and Pippen they have the chance to win multiple championships.  The caveat to their success is one of these players needs to learn their role and stay in their lane.  That player is Russell Westbrook.

Without question Russell Westbrook is one of the top 5 point guards in the league.  He is an Olympian, an NBA finalist, and on most teams he would be the focal point of the offense.  The problem is he plays with Kevin Durant.  In this dynamic KD is the big dog and Westbrook should play 2nd fiddle.  There's no shame in being the 2nd option behind the 3 time scoring champion and the 2nd coming of George Gervin. 

The thing Russell Westbrook needs to understand is that he and Kevin Durant are not equals.  Durant draws more attention and has physical attributes that give him an advantage over his defenders in nearly every game he plays.  He's got length, an unbelievable jumper, and abuses the free throw line with 90% accuracy.  Westbrook on the other hand is explosive and can get to the rim, but he's most effective when he's playing a complementary role as opposed to jacking up 3's and dominating the basketball.  Sometimes he forgets he's not the best player on his team.  Until he realizes this the Thunder will not achieve their ultimate goal of winning a championship.

I don't know how many of you have seen Spike Lee's movie Mo Better Blues, but Westbrook and Durant remind me of Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington) and Shadow Henderson (Wesley Snipes).  Shadow always wanted to be the main guy and let his pride and ego get in the way of the overall success of the group while Bleek had to constantly remind him how his bread got buttered.  It was his group and their success or failure was predicated on his performance.  Such is the case with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  As long as Russell Westbrook thinks he shouldn't have to defer to KD and continues to freestyle on the court the Thunder will come up short when it really counts.  I think he should have a cup of coffee with Scottie Pippen.  Maybe Jordan's #1 henchman can teach him a thing or two about riding shotgun and drinking from the cup of victory.  Your thoughts?

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