“So many layers here. This obviously looks like another huge break for the Spurs, who are facing the Kobe-less Lakers now and would obviously have a huge edge in a Western Conference finals rematch with OKC if Westbrook can’t make it back by then. Just let me caution, though, that the Thunder have some players (Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin, even Reggie Jackson) who can step up and do more than they’re typically asked to do. They are uniquely equipped to try to compensate for Westbrook’s absence offensively. The question is how will they handle it emotionally as a team. Westbrook never gets hurt. The Thunder have pretty much no experience playing without one of their two stars. They can finish off Houston without him, but OKC’s second-round degree of difficulty — whether it’s the Clippers or the Grizzlies — just spiked significantly.”
“You are going to see their offense change. There’s going to be a lot more screens, a lot more motion. Not as many isolations at the elbow or isolations at the top. You’re going to see Durant have the ball at end of quarters, where most recently we’ve seen Westbrook handling the ball a lot at the end of quarters.”
“This is too big of a blow for Oklahoma City to overcome. People may criticize him for taking bad shots, forcing shots and taking too many shots, but now we will see the importance of his constant attack mode for the Thunder. They can’t win a championship without Russell Westbrook.”
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