Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook dominate the ball for the Thunder. Generally, that’s a good thing.
But sometimes, it backfires, like the Thunder’s 121-118 overtime loss to the Nuggets on Sunday night. Durant did not shoot well or play well. Westbrook started off strong but then tailed off. When both are playing poorly (by their standards), and still dominating the ball like usual, the Thunder is in trouble.
Against Denver, Durant and Westbrook combined for 76 of the Thunder’s 122 usages, which is the term for ending a possession, either by shot, foul shots or turnover.
Durant took 20 shots, 21 foul shots (thus 10 usages) and committed five turnovers. Westbrook took 26 shots, 17 foul shots (thus eight usages) and committed seven turnovers.
Here are the usages for the other Thunder players:
Kevin Martin 14 (he needs more; I think Circle K needs 14 shots per game).
Serge Ibaka 14 (same thing as Martin, though not as critical to the common good).
Kendrick Perkins 8 (those offensive fouls, I think Perk had two, count).
Thabo Sefolosha 4 (not enough. When Thabo scores 8-10 points, the Thunder is tough to beat. He had four against the Denvers).
Nick Collison 4 (three turnovers, including a critical illegal screen).
Hasheem Thabeet 1 (seems about right).
Reggie Jackson 1 (one usage in 5:51 of court time. Just when you think Jackson is progressing, he has an invisible game like this).
So how does that compare to the season? Here are the season usages of Thunder players:
Eric Maynor 139
Perry Jones 41
DeAndre Liggins 33
Jeremy Lamb 33
Daniel Orton 1
So here are the percentage usages for each Boomer this season, along with the percentage in the Denver game:
Durant: 24.4, 28.6
Westbrook 23.8, 33.6
Martin 12.4, 11.5
Ibaka 11.8, 11.5
Thabo 7.1, 3.3
Perk 5.4, 6.6
Collison 4.9, 3.3
Maynor 3.1, 0.0
Jackson 2.5, 0.8
Thabeet 2.4, 0.8
Jones 1.0, 0.0
L:iggins 0.7, 0.0
Lamb 0.7, 0.0
Orton 0.0, 0.0
The findings are clear. You want Westbrook and Durant dominating the ball. But not to this extent. Not to the extent that Collison and Thabo are phased out of the proceedings. That leads to little ball movement and stagnant offense. And OKC paid the price in Denver.