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Oklahoma City Thunder: How OKC's players have been developing without Russell Westbrook

How selected Thunder players have fared with and without Russell Westbrook in the lineup.
by Berry Tramel Published: February 16, 2014
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/articleid/3934512/1/pictures/2325161">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with Russell Westbrook during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Oklahoma City won 105-97. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with Russell Westbrook during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Oklahoma City won 105-97. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

NICK COLLISON

Analysis: Collison is that rare Thunder player whose minutes have gone down without Westbrook. But Nick the Consistent plays the same no matter what.

KENDRICK PERKINS

Analysis: Perkins' playing time has risen in Westbrook's absence, mainly because he's playing much better. His rebounding is up 2.5 per game (was Russ grabbing rebounds away from Perk?) and his defense has been excellent. Without Westbrook, the Thunder is more susceptible to the pick'n roll, requiring more minutes from Perkins.

DEREK FISHER

Analysis: Fisher is playing a little more in Westbrook's absence, 1.7 additional minutes per game. But Fisher's involvement is way up. He's gone from 3.5 usages a game to 6.6. His points are up 3.7 per game, to 6.6. Only Durant has had a bigger jump, but KD plays more than twice as much as does Fisher. His shooting percentage has improved dramatically, his assists have been more than doubled. Turns out, Fisher's leadership comes through in more than just locker room presence and sideline talks.

PERRY JONES

Analysis: Jones' playing time has doubled without Westbrook. His production has not. But Jones did show he can help out and play some defense, if needed. Jones' playing time figures to drop back when Westbrook returns, because Scotty Brooks isn't likely to go with an 11-man rotation.

STEVEN ADAMS

Analysis: Adams' playing time has decreased. Is that because he's hit the rookie wall, or has Westbrook's absence impacted Adams? The noticeable need for Perkins' defense rather than Adams' might make us rethink how valuable is Westbrook's defense.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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