The Oklahoma City Thunder need to make a trade. They need another wing player who can score and play defense. They are relying too heavily on Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Both guys have been banged up all season and it will be a grind to get into the playoffs.
The Thunder are 7-1 when Westbrook and Durant play a full game. They lost their game at Golden State when Durant went down with a sprained right ankle. It was the same foot Durant broke before the season started so the Thunder will not rush him back. In previous seasons Durant would have probably returned to that game against the Warriors and continued to play throughout the season.
Since returning from injury Russell Westbrook has been amazing. Unlike Durant he was not on a minutes restriction and took over games while Durant rested. He scored at least 20 points in every game since his return and scored at least 30 points six times.
Well he did until yesterday’s game against the Mavericks where Westbrook shot 6-23 for 18 points. He had nine rebounds, nine assists, five steals, five fouls and five turnovers. In the month of December Westbrook is averaging 28.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 7.6 apg and 4.3 tos. With Durant out Westbrook is forced to do more with less.
When Durant and Westbrook were playing they quickly went on a seven game winning streak against inferior opponents. They beat the Cavs without LeBron and the Kings without DeMarcus Cousins. We all thought the Thunder are back and will easily get that 8th spot in the West. Since Durant went down they are only 3-3.
During that time the Phoenix Suns have turned it around, won six in a row and now occupy the 8th seed. In their previous matchup two weeks ago the Thunder beat the Suns by 24 points. The two teams meet up again on Wednesday. The Suns will be on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Thunder have not gotten anything from Jeremy Lamb since Durant and Westbrook returned. He’s had four DNPs and only scored in double figures three times. Andre Roberson is the starting shooting guard that plays defense but he’s not an offensive threat. He’s scored in double digits just twice this season.
With Steven Adams and Andre Roberson in the starting lineup the Thunder only have three offensive weapons in the starting lineup. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will have to do a lot more to get into the playoffs but that only hurts the Thunder because both players will be worn down in the playoffs.
We have yet to see the Thunder at full strength against all the top teams in the Western Conference. Even with Durant and Westbrook the Thunder will need more fire power against those top tier teams.
Their next four games are against the Suns, Wizards, Warriors and Kings. They will be all be tough games, even the Kings because of DeMarcus Cousins. The Thunder won’t rush Kevin Durant back into the lineup so they need to add more depth to help Westbrook.