Are the Oklahoma City Thunder panicking after this terrible start? They are last in the Western Conference with a 3-11 record and have lost five straight. Kevin Durant has not played this season and Russell Westbrook is still out with a fractured hand.
With those guys out Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb and Anthony Morrow have gotten more playing time. Jackson can score and pass but he takes bad shots and sometimes holds the ball too long. Ibaka is well Ibaka, a solid role player that can’t create his own shot. He has a good mid-range, can make a three pointer and plays with high energy to get blocks.
Russell Westbrook had surgery on November 1st and was expected to be evaluated again in four weeks. Kevin Durant was supposed to be out 6-8 weeks and then re-evaluated. The Thunder suck and now both guys are going to participate in non-contact practice on Saturday and will be re-evaluated next week.
According the Oklahoman, “both are healing at an accelerated rate and could be back in the starting lineup as early as the end of next week.” I thought Durant was taking it slow and wasn’t going to rush back. How many surgeries has Westbrook had in the past two seasons? All of a sudden both guys might be ready to go before December. That does not sound right.
I’m not saying the Thunder should just tank this season and get a good draft pick but they can’t be in a hurry to rush back both franchise players just because they are losing. Yea the West is tough and the seventh and eighth seeds have a winning percentage over 60% but Durant’s and Westbrooks health is more important.
The Thunder has had the misfortune of losing Westbrook in the playoffs and then having Ibaka go down in the playoffs. They can ill afford to have Durant re-injury that foot during a playoff push or in the playoffs. Westbrook had multiple surgeries last season and didn’t look fully healthy until the playoffs.
It seems like now or never for the Thunder. If this season is terrible and they get a high draft pick does that mean Kevin Durant will resign or leave? The people in charge don’t want it to get to that point. They believe a championship will guarantee Kevin Durant is staying with the Thunder.
I want Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to come back when they are fully healthy. It might be a mistake to have them participating in practice now because their teammates are struggling to win games.
If they wait too long it will be a hard hill to climb to get into the playoffs. Hitting the panic button too soon could hinder the Thunder instead of helping them.