Oklahoma City Thunder: How Russell Westbrook's injury impacts each of his teammates

Darnell Mayberry takes a look at how Russell Westbrook's injury impacts his Thunder teammates and the contributions they must now make.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 26, 2013

How Russell Westbrook's injury impacts his Thunder teammates and the contributions they must now make.

Kevin Durant: The franchise player must now perform like it. All game. Every game. No excuses. If the Thunder has any chance of advancing deep into the playoffs it will have to lean on Durant more than ever before, depending on him to provide more scoring, more rebounding, more defense, more toughness and create more plays. Durant had embraced Westbrook's increasing role as a scorer. It lightened his load and took pressure off of Durant. Those days are gone

Reggie Jackson: He's appeared in just two career playoff games and has never started an NBA game. But the Thunder is now expected to turn to the second-year point guard as the starter. Jackson, though, shouldn't try to be Westbrook. That's impossible. A better goal is to just be steady. Jackson has shown an ability to break down the defense, get to the basket and finish himself or make plays for others once there. Expect much more of that in Westbrook's absence. The Thunder will need Jackson's scoring ability.

Kevin Martin: Thanks to Westbrook and Durant forming the league's highest scoring duo in the regular season, Martin was able to snuggle into the cozy position of being the third scoring option. Some nights he excelled. Other nights he didn't show up. Now, he's got to be a consistent scoring threat. Martin must regain his 20-point-per-game prowess by any means necessary. The league's third-highest scoring team simply can't stay afloat without K-Mart stepping up.

Serge Ibaka: Ibaka could emerge as the biggest revelation in the remaining rotation. His offensive game has grown each season and is to the point where he's now confidently taking corner 3-pointers, as well as midrange jumpers from all over the floor. Where Ibaka must now make an impact is at the start of the first and third quarters. Without Westbrook, the Thunder's revamped starting lineup could struggle mightily to score. Ibaka can remedy some of that by being more aggressive offensively, while also using his defense to ignite run-out opportunities.


by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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