For the first half of the year the NBA has been gushing over Russell Westbrook. Could he average a triple double!? “Impossible!” in today’s modern game the ‘experts’ say, yet there is a very good chance he’ll do it.
And it will be completely meaningless.
Take last night. The hype surrounding Kevin Durant’s return to OKC was off the charts. And the game lived up to the hype. At least for the first quarter. Westbrook would evently scrap his way to a game-high 47 points to go with 11 boards and eight assists. And if you looked at the stat line your jaw would drop. However, if you actually watched the game you would have seen a guy off the hinges. A mad man on the court, though in all the worst ways. Westbrook turned the ball over 11 times though beyond that, lost all sense of what team basketball can be. And oh yeah, his team lost by 26.
And that is why Kevin Durant left. Westbrook doesn’t get it. And it doesn’t look like he ever will.
But, in the 24-hour hype cycle stats lead and the winners take a back seat. So what if a team is down 20 – show the killer dunk in the highlight reel, right ESPN. (Sidenote: remember when ESPN was relevant?).
Last night the OKC fans booed Durant incessantly. It was tired after five minutes (and I’m saying that as a Philly fan) and yet they persisted. Booing Durant, really? A guy who put your franchise on the map. Literally. A guy that bled for your team for eight years with barely a squeak of complaint. Are the OKC fans’ memories that short?
So now Russell Westbrook is showered with effusive praise while trying to lock up the eight seed in the West to ultimately get bounced in the first round, while most fans chide a guy like Kevin Durant as a bum “chasing a title”.
I say chase, KD… I’m rooting for you, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch.