Lightning strikes twice - OKC pairs PG13 with Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George answers a question at his first news conference since Oklahoma City's blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
PG-13 with OKC? Expect great things from this dynamic duo.
I’m not going to talk about contracts and stipulations on this one, but I just want to let you imagine what it will be like for the Thunder to have these two together.
It’s been a crazy offseason hasn’t it? There’s been so much movement around the league, and many say it’s because of the defending champions Golden State Warriors. I definitely agree with that sentiment. With the scramble that’s going on, it’s like playing NBA 2K when these trades and signings push through, don’t you think?
But it has to be more than that. Us fans are overwhelmed by the new look of some of the teams - squads like the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, LA Clippers, and this OKC Thunder. But the ultimate question though is, can they get the job done against the Warriors?
Here’s what separates the Dubs, and a squad like the San Antonio Spurs, from the rest of the contenders: their system. Steve Kerr’s free-flowing, ball-sharing ways, and Gregg Popovich’s pounding of the rock. No matter who you add, if they buy into the system, things work.
So in relation to the Thunder, Coach Billy Donovan needs to implement a system that will complement Paul George and Russell Westbrook. The former is one of the top two-way players in the Association, while the other is the reigning MVP. On paper, that seems like a lot, but to win games, they’ll need a system that will help them win the games that matter the most.
With that said, I’m optimistic for the Thunder’s chances. They’ve put the right players around Westbrook and George, complementary pieces like Steven Adams, the re-signed Andre Roberson, and new addition Patrick Patterson. They are the type of players that will dive for loose balls and hustle to cover opponents, important for this team’s “defense to offense” style of play.
Perhaps the biggest concern is how Russell Westbrook will play, whether or not his style will evolve beyond his MVP outing this season. Will he still have a ridiculously high usage rate? Will he be more willing to share the basketball this time around? Is he going to still be erratic shooting-wise? I have high hopes that Russ and PG will be able to co-exist. They’ll need to, because that’s the only way they can standout among the other contenders in the West.
With this great move by the Thunder, I also hope that Westbrook will lessen his bitterness towards his former teammate, Kevin Durant. You have to move on at some point, right? Especially now that Westbrook has a running mate of his own, and won’t have to be a one-man team anymore. While the Thunder will still be his team, odds are good that Westbrook will look even better, now that he doesn’t have to carry the load alone.
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