With the offensive explosion from Kevin Durant and the stream of victories from his team, some have opined that, upon return, Russell Westbrook will need to adjust his game around the Thunder's new Durant-heavy style of play.
That return could come as early as Thursday. But an adjustment to Westbrook's game will likely never follow.
That's just not how he operates.
“Let him be him,” Durant said of his All-Star point guard. “He's a dog, and you have to let him off the leash. You can't put a leash on that guy.”
Pencil in Westbrook for his 33 minutes per game, his 18 shots, his 20-plus points, his attacking, ball-control style that requires plenty of touches, but traditionally leads to positive results.
“We don't want him to come in there and play too passive because of how we're playing,” Durant said. “We just want him to come in and be him, and we're looking forward to having him back.”
But since an adjustment won't come from Westbrook, it'll have to come from his surrounding teammates.
And some of that change will be positive. Reggie Jackson will slide back into his more comfortable reserve role, leading a second-unit that is playing well, but could certainly use an extra playmaker.
And Serge Ibaka will again have an extra probing attacker to free him up for wide-open (nearly automatic) pick and pop jumpers. He has developed great offensive chemistry with Westbrook the past few seasons.
“We're just going to mold ourselves around him,” Durant said. “We're not trying to have him mold into the team.”