I spent the last two weeks sweating out the Warriors-Thunder series as was probably evidenced by some of my previous posts…I really wanted the Warriors to win and continue their quest to greatness.
Still, looking back, now that I’ve had time to exhale, I feel like I didn’t truly appreciate the greatness of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
For starters, I seriously underestimated how fast Westbrook is. I mean, my god.
He flies after every loose ball, including rebounds, making him a nightmare to guard. And he’s also incredibly fit. When that ball of muscle comes charging at you, it doesn’t surprise me that people just dive out of the way.
Westbrook is also a crazy good passer. As ESPN’s Stats and Info Twitter site clearly demonstrates:
In almost every game this series, Westbrook had double digit assists. His passes made guys like Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson get easy shots. Take a look at this incredible read and pass that leads to the easiest dunk ever for Roberson:
And this is against one of the best defending guards in the NBA whom I poured praise on the other day.
Not to be outdone, his counterpart might have put on an even more impressive performance during this series. Kevin Durant showed that he is a top-3 player in the NBA overall. Not only is he the best shooter on the team and one of the best in the league, but his two-way skills are incredible.
His arms seem to go on forever, more than his 6’11 frame. He averaged over 28 points per game in the playoffs along with more than 7 rebounds per game. He can hit from all over as well – from downtown to incredible moves like this one:
Durant switched on Curry and Thompson and made them look human – something his teammates struggled with. He wasn’t afraid to drive at some of the best defenders in the league like Draymond Green and really gave them hell until Steve Kerr put Andre Iguodola on him almost all of the time.
Plus when you team them up together, magic like this happens:
Now obviously, they didn’t close out this series. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t play incredible basketball. They went into the series against a team that had barely lost 10 games for the entire year. They were the underdogs by a lot and they came so close to unseating the champions. The reason? These two. These two carried this team all year and in the playoffs.
Now, we’ve reached the inevitably annoying Summer of Durant. Teams from the Wizards to the Heat to the Celtics to maybe even (gasp!) the Warriors have already set their plans in motion to bring the MVP to their team. What suits him best – one of the coasts, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston or somewhere on the interior San Antonio or perhaps right at home in Oklahoma City. Maybe he stays for one more year before the salary cap blows up? Whatever the answer is, one thing is true -Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant may not play for the same team ever again.
They are two legitimate superstars and the fact that this might be the last time we see them on the court at the same time is really sad.