Credit image: NBA.com/thunder/gallery/Knicks
Russell Westbrook will be an MVP candidate at the end of the season, but will he be in contention for the NBA championship?
Westbrook has been impressive so far in the early season. People expected the Oklahoma City Thunder to have some trouble and take a step back from where they were, but nobody could expect Westbrook to play at this level. He had eight triple doubles so far in the season, with people comparing him to the great Oscar Roberson. He is averaging 30.9 PPG, 11.3 APG and 10.3 RPG and have carried the Thunder to an 11-8 record. The question is can he keep this up?
Last night in a competitive game , Westbrook led the Thunder in a win against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks would control the game and make it a close game in the First and Second Quarter. By the end of the Second Quarter and on, the Thunder would turn the tables and control the lead the rest of the game. Westbrook would finish the game with 27 points, 14 assists and 18 rebounds. He had help from Enes Kanter who provided 27 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench and Steven Adams with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Westbrook has been impressive and is a superstar in the NBA, but he’s going to need more to make it in the playoffs. The Western Conference is stacked, with teams like the Lakers or the Kings wanting to get into the playoffs this year. Their is also teams like the Trailblazers, Grizzles and the Rockets having a talented roster to compete for the playoff picture as well.
Westbrook is going to have to play at this level consistently, especially if his team is not going to back him up. Last night was a good night for Kanter and Adams, but more players on the team have to step up and become consistent as well. The NBA season is very long and grueling. If the Thunder gets into the playoffs and even become considered championship contenders, Westbrook will have to play at this extraordinary level and players need to continue to step up. On a positive note, NBA fans are witnessing something special watching Westbrook compete at this level.