Thunder Nation: If Westbrook Has Anything To Say About It, We Will Be Alright
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Thunder Nation: If Westbrook Has Anything To Say About It, We Will Be Alright

Why OKC will be a top four seed this year.

Thunder Nation: If Westbrook Has Anything To Say About It, We Will Be Alright

It's no secret that after jumping out to a 6-1 start the Thunder have shown their deficiencies in losing five of their last seven games. These losses have been especially frustrating because they have all either been in situations where dumb mistakes cost us a close one (losses to the Magic and Clippers), losses to subpar teams (the dud against Detroit's bench), or the loss to Indiana which was a close giveaway and was to a bad team. After leading the West for the first two weeks (not unlike they've done for years) the Thunder have definitely begun to show the absence left by the knife in their back. The good news is there are a few reasons why Oklahoma City will not only recover from this slump, but will finish the season with a top-4 seed in the Western Conference, if not all the way to the #3 seed.

The Reason Why We Are Losing And Why It's A Short Term Fix

Many analysts, commentators and fans are wanting to focus on the things Oklahoma City can't control. Yes, KD is gone. We don't have a consistent #2 guy. Russ doesn't have the stabilizing force to calm him when things get out of hand, everyone who has seen a game knows that. But that's not why the Thunder have dropped so many games recently. OKC is averaging 17 turnovers per game, which would league the league every year the past five years. In their last five losses OKC's rebounding advantage is only +2 over those games, and for a team with the best rebounding guard in the last 30 years and Steven Adams, this is simply not going to get it done. The Thunder are losing games because of mental mistakes, unnecessary risks and really just undisciplined basketball. The great thing is those things can be corrected, and when they are corrected OKC will make a quick turnaround back to the winning track.

The Bench's Growth

The other glaring hole in OKC's roster is their bench. Anytime Russ takes a breather leads implode, momentum disappears, and on many occasions games have been lost because of the poor production of our bench. However, in the recent losses, the bench has looked encouraging. The bench scored 45 points last night and thoroughly outplayed the Pacers bench, even erasing a double digit lead our starters built up in the first half. With Cam-Payne set to return soon, OKC may be close to figuring out how to give Russ more help.

We Have The Best Player In The League (The MVP?)

Russell Westbrook is on a tear the magnitude of which has never been seen before. Westbrook acts as the teams polarizing motivator, it's shot creator (both for himself and everyone on his team), he's the best rebounder, the best passer, and aside from Andre Roberson he is the team's best defender. Westbrook is the team's unquestioned leader, from start to finish. His ability to close games, especially recently, has been a big reason why they are winning games (or at least having chances to win games).

I mean when was the last time you saw a game-clinching posterizer?

I guess Westbrook was finally tired of the guy behind me at the game yelling at him to stop shooting.

With plays like this becoming a nightly occurrence, Westbrook is setting this season up to truly be one for the history books. Time will only tell if he can keep this up, but if he does, and if the bench continues to grow, and if they fix the little mistakes they continue to make, then OKC will return to their winning ways. If Kanter grows into a go-to post scorer, and Adams grows into a 15-10 beast we all know he can be, and if Roberson can just learn to make an open-freaking 3 pointer, and if Dipo keeps growing? OKC definitely has the potential to remain a lethal team in the Western Conference, with the potential to play spoilers to the Spurs or the Warriors dream seasons. Only time will tell what heights Russell Westbrook will carry this team to. As the slope gets steeper, he climbs harder.

OKC plays the Lakers and Kings in a back-to-back beginning on Tuesday, and the Nuggets and Pistons in another back to back on Friday and Saturday.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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