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Oklahoma City Thunder: What will Russell Westbrook's return mean for the Thunder?

Some have opined that, upon return, Russell Westbrook will need to adjust his game around the Thunder's new Kevin Durant-heavy style of play. But that's just not how Westbrook operates.
by Anthony Slater Published: February 16, 2014

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.”

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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