Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:43 am

Its been well documented that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have shared the alpha male status roles while playing for the Thunder as teammates since 2008. Without much debate from those in the know, Durant has always been regarded as not only the better of the two, but a top 3 player since 2011. Last night, I came full circle with this basketball relationship they share. It was confirmed by a post game soundbite he gave to reporters when he said...

""It's fun. During this time of the year, as a team we've got one goal and we can't let nobody get in the way. That's how I feel and that's how I want my team to respond as well."

My team. The words echoed within me for awhile.

In the poker world, the pros say to never trust what a guy says at the table. Watch his action and what his cards say. Russell isn't bluffing. He finished 2nd to only Kobe Bryant in field goal attempts this season. He took 102 shots more than the almost 4-time consecutive scoring champion. Although Durant shoot 51% from the field (Westbrook - 43%) and is only 2nd to the presumptive 2013 MVP L. James in efficiency ranking with 30.4, Durant clearly decides to kowtow.

And and its only know, that I can clearly define their relationship. Russell Westbrook is everything Kevin Durant knows that he is not. The power to dominate, control, and manipulate conditions sits with Russell and always has. And in a game where aggression is the ultimate ingredient for winning, Westbrook holds the master key. It's in my belief that Kevin Durant has finally accepted his position about who and what he naturally is.

Come June, we will see the them matchup against a duo who already figured out their ego imbalances. And Miami, because of their triumph, will triumph again.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby therealdeal on Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:05 am

So you're saying that Durant has allowed Westbrook to take over as the "controller" of the team?

Even though Durant is the one who is clearly the better player.

How does this affect Durant in the future and among his place at the top of the game?
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:03 am

therealdeal wrote:So you're saying that Durant has allowed Westbrook to take over as the "controller" of the team?

Even though Durant is the one who is clearly the better player.

How does this affect Durant in the future and among his place at the top of the game?


That's exactly what I'm saying.

This will ultimately affect Durant and his quest for a championship negatively moving forward. Since he is the best, he should have top billing in all the important criteria of the game. This means in the vocal department, the physical leadership department, and in terms of media and accountability. All the known greats have done this. Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe, and now Lebron.

Westbrook called the Thunder HIS team in the post game. Dennis Johnson, James Worthy, Scottie Pippen, and Derek Fisher would never have said that after a game. It's simply not true for those individuals. But for Westbrook, he had enough guts to say it...because it's true for him and this team.

Wade and Bron went through this already. In 2011, Lebron led them all the way to the Finals. He was the league MVP and the best player up until the Finals. Wade was an afterthought. He struggled up until Dallas. When the big lights came on, Wade shined. Lebron lost himself. But remember what Wade told Lebron after they dropped game 1 in the 2012 Finals. He deferred and gave Bron the reigns, publicly. On the championship podium he said (paraphrased):

Lebron, I want you to lead us. Right now, you're the best in the world. Take us to a championship.

That's all he had to hear. The roles became defined, instantly. And when that is organized among supertalents (like MJ and Scottie who never blurred the lines) success is inevitable.

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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby therealdeal on Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:32 am

Interesting.

Do you think you might be reading to much into the use of the word? For instance if Howard had said "I want this team, my team, our team to win" would that mean also that he felt it was his team or just that he was expressing that desire to win all together?

And if this negatively affects Durant moving forward, HOW negatively? Do you think this potentially keeps him from being one of the greats? Do you think this pairing lasts? And do you think the duo has any chance at reconciliation and winning together?
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:46 am

therealdeal wrote:Interesting.

Do you think you might be reading to much into the use of the word? For instance if Howard had said "I want this team, my team, our team to win" would that mean also that he felt it was his team or just that he was expressing that desire to win all together?

And if this negatively affects Durant moving forward, HOW negatively? Do you think this potentially keeps him from being one of the greats? Do you think this pairing lasts? And do you think the duo has any chance at reconciliation and winning together?


No, I don't think I'm reading to much into that. My thought is supported by the fact that he's 2nd in the league in shot attempts only behind Kobe. He thinks he is the main ingredient to success.

But he didn't say "this, my, our". Only his. And why shouldn't he? Who's trying to control him? Who is limiting his shots and persuading him to defer more? He's on the cover of three magazine in the last two months - SLAM, Complex, and ESPN. He's the man and he's getting all the attention for his play and style off the court. He's morphing into his own brand.

If Durant doesn't rise to the occasion and take ownership, I don't think they can win a championship against a healthy Miami squad. Why? His style of play doesn't give credence to winning. He attacks the basket better than anyone not named Lebron yet takes many jumpshots. Its why he only shoots 43%. Durant is feared more. He can do it all. He's the most multi-faceted. He demands more attention from a defense. With him as the sole controller, Russell's life becomes easier. Not the other way around. In simple terms, Westbrook is your quintessential ball hog who has something to prove. A quick look at his bio from his early years of high school and college will tell you why.

And the end of the day, Durant will be an all-time great. But he might be ringless in the Lebron James Era. I smell a trade on the horizon.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Rooscooter on Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:15 pm

I agree Durant may be ringless... but it will most likely be because he would differ to a mental midget like Westbrook.... a very talented mental midget but one none the less.

Durant seems to have "IT" at time and not at others. Maybe it's the maturation process as LeBron had some of the same issues and now he seems to have it figured out.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby therealdeal on Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:15 pm

Iceberg Slim wrote:No, I don't think I'm reading to much into that. My thought is supported by the fact that he's 2nd in the league in shot attempts only behind Kobe. He thinks he is the main ingredient to success.

But he didn't say "this, my, our". Only his. And why shouldn't he? Who's trying to control him? Who is limiting his shots and persuading him to defer more? He's on the cover of three magazine in the last two months - SLAM, Complex, and ESPN. He's the man and he's getting all the attention for his play and style off the court. He's morphing into his own brand.

If Durant doesn't rise to the occasion and take ownership, I don't think they can win a championship against a healthy Miami squad. Why? His style of play doesn't give credence to winning. He attacks the basket better than anyone not named Lebron yet takes many jumpshots. Its why he only shoots 43%. Durant is feared more. He can do it all. He's the most multi-faceted. He demands more attention from a defense. With him as the sole controller, Russell's life becomes easier. Not the other way around. In simple terms, Westbrook is your quintessential ball hog who has something to prove. A quick look at his bio from his early years of high school and college will tell you why.

And the end of the day, Durant will be an all-time great. But he might be ringless in the Lebron James Era. I smell a trade on the horizon.

Now I'm intrigued.

I tend to agree with you actually on all fronts. I just wanted to see what your thoughts on the matter were. For a while now it's been a general consensus that Westbrook/Durant are skating a thin edge between collapse and success. Right now they're just so damn talented they can't HELP but win games. Until they come across a team or two that has equal or greater talent... In which case they can't do it. Case in point: the Finals 2012.

Now I suppose the biggest question is this: if a trade is coming... who do they trade? The guy that is branding himself and cashing in more commercial opportunities...

or the better player?

Does either of them demand a trade? Where do they try to go?
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Finwë on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:21 pm

I tend to agree. I've always felt when watching Durant that here is a guy that has the talent and potential to be a top 5 player all-time, but who seems to lack what many call a "killer instinct". He gets fronted and ball-denied by guards after switches, he gets pushed around in the block, and he lets a less smart and less effective player take more shots than him, sometimes going 3/4/5 possessions in a row without a touch..
It's, IMO, the only thing (barring injuries) that is keeping him from being an MVP, an all-time great, and a champion.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby wcsoldier81 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:35 am

Interesting points ... Thunderefs weaknesses go way beyond this "relationship" .... their offensive team game still hasn't involved one bit ... too much one on one , not enough ball movement .. OKC has a lot of "maturing" to do if they want to truly challenge the Heat , they are lacking in the B-Ball IQ department .

Brooks is clueless in the adjustments game imo and his insistence to play useless Porkins against the Heat is mind blowing.

I don't seem OKC beating Miami anytime soon
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby kenzo on Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:42 am

Good, good :man9: Bit of a "neighbour drama" is always welcome. They were a tough matchup for Miami in 2012... now i think Miami would beat them much easier. Im all for both Durant and Westbrook staying ringless :man9:
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:06 am

Durant is the kind of guy that respects loyalty. And when trying to deal either one of them, because of his erratic behavior and attitude, Westbrook will be the most expendable.

Who do they trade him for? Considering they are rebuilding after this year, the Celtics might deal Rajon Rondo with a possible Jeff Green/OKC reunion.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby therealdeal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:17 am

Iceberg Slim wrote:Durant is the kind of guy that respects loyalty. And when trying to deal either one of them, because of his erratic behavior and attitude, Westbrook will be the most expendable.

Who do they trade him for? Considering they are rebuilding after this year, the Celtics might deal Rajon Rondo with a possible Jeff Green/OKC reunion.

Whoa.

I don't think a trade is happening any time soon between Durant and Westbrook. That ship is still in the dock. If anything they'll trade away Perkins to whomever is dumb enough to take him. Keeping Perkins and trading Harden will go down as one of the dumbest moves of the decade.

But between Durant and Westbrook there's still much money to be made to trade anybody this summer or even next. I think you'll see this struggle go on at least one or two more years. Especially if they make the Finals again which appears likely.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Rooscooter on Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:46 am

therealdeal wrote:
Iceberg Slim wrote:Durant is the kind of guy that respects loyalty. And when trying to deal either one of them, because of his erratic behavior and attitude, Westbrook will be the most expendable.

Who do they trade him for? Considering they are rebuilding after this year, the Celtics might deal Rajon Rondo with a possible Jeff Green/OKC reunion.

Whoa.

I don't think a trade is happening any time soon between Durant and Westbrook. That ship is still in the dock. If anything they'll trade away Perkins to whomever is dumb enough to take him. Keeping Perkins and trading Harden will go down as one of the dumbest moves of the decade.

But between Durant and Westbrook there's still much money to be made to trade anybody this summer or even next. I think you'll see this struggle go on at least one or two more years. Especially if they make the Finals again which appears likely.


Trade Perkins!! :man4: He WAS the reason they won that game.... did you see the massive "screen" he put on Chandler Parsons to free Thabo for that "dagger" 3?... you can't give up a guy with intangibles like that to just anyone......
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby havoc33 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:52 am

Great timing, Slim. :man10: Although I think you were reaching a bit with your analyzis, I guess we're about to find out what Durant is really made of. He needs to step up his game and finally start to walk the walk. No more of this fake tough guy act, whining about being no 2, yet you don't even take control of your own team... Russell is out, now show us your stuff.

This injury might actually end up defining how their relationship plays out. If Durant fails to lead, Russel could very well see it as reason why he should be the undisputed alpha on the team. If Durant somehow brings forth an epic playoffs from here on and out though, the chips might have already been layed no matter how Russell feels about it. It will be interesting to see their dynamics when he comes back.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby therealdeal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:05 am

[quote="Rooscooter"

Trade Perkins!! :man4: He WAS the reason they won that game.... did you see the massive "screen" he put on Chandler Parsons to free Thabo for that "dagger" 3?... you can't give up a guy with intangibles like that to just anyone......[/quote]
It's going to go down as one of the big bonehead moves in the decade, I'm telling you. Harden has proven he's almost a first option this season. He might be if he had a better second option. And he was their THIRD option... Just crazy.

But good thing they held onto Perkins, I tell you... That guy has been great for that franchise.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:08 am

[quote] I think you'll see this struggle go on at least one or two more years. Especially if they make the Finals again which appears likely.[quote]

Not likely anymore. Russell Westbrook out indefinitely.

My mindset (barring injury) was that OKC would make it back to the Finals again...to get thrashed again. Russell's antics would remain the same. And after another series in which they lose with Russell assuming alpha dog status, trade rumors/scenarios would surface right before the 2014 trade deadline for Rajon Rondo. The writing is on the wall. Durant is a introverted superstar who rather leads by example in the mold of Tim Duncan. Westbrook is a stubborn charismatic dynamo who vocalizes his every emotion. We might as well them fire and ice. But Ice needs some heat on him. And fire needs to chill. Ironically, Rajon Rondo is a bit like Westbrook in his head. Difference is, he's a traditional pass first point guard who makes everyone around him better. The onus will be on Durant to rise. And given the perfect situation, I believe he will.

Speaking of irony, Durant will be in that very position moving forward for the rest of the playoffs.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Forward Three on Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:02 pm

Seems like a very similar dynamic to what Wade and Lebron have. Wade has always had a reputation for being a bit of a reckless player, not necessarily a 'gunner' because he gets most of his points at the rim, but certainly someone who craves the glory of a big made shot and shrugs off the embarrassment of a big miss. Lebron's bugaboo for much of his career has been specifically that he shies away from the big shots and doesn't seem to have that 'killer instinct'. Since the two teamed up, Lebron's efficiency has skyrocketed because he is able to basically say "okay, Wade, you do all the stupid [Swearing is not permitted at Clublakers. You must edit this post prior to submitting.], get your rocks off, I'll take only the shots I am comfortable taking, because I just want to chill"

Durant, by all accounts, is very much a 'wants to chill' sort of player personality wise, and while he has immense basketball talent and can score the ball from anywhere on the court seemingly as though it is a layup, it seems to be the exception that he gets mad or out of control and wants to start 'taking over'. Westbrook, on the other hand, is the epitome of 'mad player is a bad player' in that he is very skilled but he also gets this "I can win the game on my own" mentality that basically cost them the Finals last season.

It's probably a good pairing overall, but if they were to trade either one of them, I agree that Westbrook is the more likely candidate, slashing small-man complex combo guards are a dime a dozen these days and while they aren't all at Westbrook's level, you're simply not getting a 7' sf/pf like Durant anywhere else but in Durant(okay, Dirk I guess, but he's entering his sunset years)
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby therealdeal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:54 pm

Yeah the injury announcement came out right after I posted my take.

I know what you're getting at, but both of those guys are so young. I think that their youth coupled with their marketability will keep them together for at least another 2 years. Maybe 3.

Oklahoma is going to continue looking at this team as a young team reaching their peak. They'll continue to shuffle players around Westbrook/Durant for a while. Meanwhile they'll rake in the cash like it's September. Not until they've hit a point when the two's problems become either public or suspected will there be trade rumors.

And when the time comes, I'm not sure they go after Rondo because at that point I think it'll be too late. In my opinion it'll be around the year 2015-2016 which is ironically when KD should be expiring anyway.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby thkthebest on Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:08 pm

Not sure why OKC would ever think about trading Westbrook for Rondo. This has nothing to do with my hate for Rondo either. OKC needs Westbrook's scoring imo. Rondo would make a guy like Ibaka better, but if Ibaka is your second scoring option, then your team is going absolutely nowhere.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:03 am

havoc33 wrote:Great timing, Slim. :man10: Although I think you were reaching a bit with your analyzis, I guess we're about to find out what Durant is really made of. He needs to step up his game and finally start to walk the walk. No more of this fake tough guy act, whining about being no 2, yet you don't even take control of your own team... Russell is out, now show us your stuff.

This injury might actually end up defining how their relationship plays out. If Durant fails to lead, Russel could very well see it as reason why he should be the undisputed alpha on the team. If Durant somehow brings forth an epic playoffs from here on and out though, the chips might have already been layed no matter how Russell feels about it. It will be interesting to see their dynamics when he comes back.



I can't lie...my timing here was impeccable lol. My girlfriend (who is a sports nut) said to me yesterday, "Terrell, your wish is about to be reality. Durant HAS to be the alpha now." Ironically, her favorite player is Westbrook.

Kevin Durant has given us no reason to doubt him. Outside of being complacent in the "who's team is this" critique, he's an exceptional player with ice in his veins. He wants the ball in the clutch and he delivers more times than not. He's arguably the best scorer in the world over the last 4 years . With Russell Westbrook out of the lineup, look for him to average 30+ points on close to 50% shooting, 40% from 3. I'll put it out there right now...

He'll hit for 40 tonight in a Thunder victory, advance to the next round in 5 games, and push the Clippers to 7 games with him averaging 30 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists on 50% shooting.

If Westbrook comes back this season while they are still alive, he will have no choice but to play Robin to Durant's batman.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby wcsoldier81 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:34 am

thkthebest wrote:Not sure why OKC would ever think about trading Westbrook for Rondo. This has nothing to do with my hate for Rondo either. OKC needs Westbrook's scoring imo. Rondo would make a guy like Ibaka better, but if Ibaka is your second scoring option, then your team is going absolutely nowhere.


I totally agree
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby Iceberg Slim on Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:53 am

thkthebest wrote:Not sure why OKC would ever think about trading Westbrook for Rondo. This has nothing to do with my hate for Rondo either. OKC needs Westbrook's scoring imo. Rondo would make a guy like Ibaka better, but if Ibaka is your second scoring option, then your team is going absolutely nowhere.


I can see this line of reasoning. It makes sense. It's also why in my first post about a possible trade acquisition, I mentioned Jeff Green making a return to OKC along with Rondo. Green had a coming out party in 2013 and looks like a solid player moving forward.

But even without Green, 13 ppg Ibaka ups his average another 4-5 points with a true point feeding him the ball in places where he's not dribbling or even making a move to score. He'd be already at the cup. With his developing mid-range shot, it's a not a stretch to think Ibaka could average close to 20 in two years. Durant will always be Durant. Rondo will average his usual 13-14 ppg. But he's giving you 11 assists a night. Everyone's else game is elevated. I'd picture their flow of their offense similar to what they are in transition, but with more intricacy in half court sets. Built for the playoffs.

Long term, something is going to happen. And I see Durant being there for the long haul. If the OKC's act doesn't change, Russell won't be.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby lakerfan2 on Thu May 02, 2013 3:03 pm

Interesting to watch Durant without Westbrook. He's getting a case of the Kobe "trust" issues. Say what you want, but KD struggles the same way Kobe does when there's no help. He drives the lane and turns it over or forces it up.

It's funny actually, because I don't think either could exist by themselves, but they're not meant to play with each other either. Each need a big to complement them.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby John3:16 on Thu May 02, 2013 5:32 pm

Durant and Westbrook need to switch personalities.

Durant isn't "Alpha Male". His game is, but his personality isn't. Westbrook is (game and personality).

If Westbrook had Durant's personality (humble, involve everyone, great game when called upon) and Durant had Westbrook's personality (destroy competition, world revolves around me), OKC would've won the title last year and and a few more in the very near future, assuming injuries didn't derail team.
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Re: Russell Westbrook vs. Kevin Durant

Postby puffyusaf#2 on Thu May 02, 2013 6:14 pm

^That
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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