2011 NBA Playoffs: Russell Westbrook Playing His Way off Oklahoma Thunder?

Andrew Tonge@@lwsportsnewsAnalyst IIMay 11, 2011

Will Westbrook continue to be Durant's running mate, or run out of town?
Will Westbrook continue to be Durant's running mate, or run out of town?Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

We have seen this act before.  As the saying goes, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  The Oklahoma Thunder have a great future.  Everyone can see that.

Everyone knows that there is a pecking order, also.  Apparently Russell Westbrook hasn't gotten the memo.

I don't know what is being talked about in the locker room or between the coaching staff, but someone needs to find out where Westbrook's head is at.

Like it or not, this is Kevin Durant's team.  He has earned that right.  Not with his contract, but with his explosive play.  He is a top-five player that is pretty much unguardable.  He has size, skill and speed.

Let's not forget that he is selfless and wants to win in Oklahoma City.  I love Westbrook's confidence and aggressiveness, but when Durant is on the court, he has to touch the ball in key situations. 

That includes at the end of games.  Westbrook is playing like he is trying to prove a point.  We know he is good—very good—and a vital part of the team.  The problem is he needs to spend more time trying to set up his teammates instead of looking for his own offense.

That is his job.  That is what he is supposed to be doing.  If he keeps going the way he is, the organization is going to have to make a decision.  What point is Westbrook trying to make?

What are his actions on the hardwood trying to say?  Is he trying to say he is just as good offensively as Durant?  Is he saying that he is Mr. Clutch too? 

Is he saying "Durant can't do it all so I have to help by being a volume scorer?"  One thing is for sure: He is not making any of his teammates better by the way he is playing.

If he is not careful, he will suffer the same fate as one Stephon Marbury, who ruined a potential championship dynamic duo in Minnesota with Kevin Garnett because he wanted the spotlight for himself.  We know what kind of career he had after he left. 

We can also look at Shaq leaving Orlando and Penny Hardaway.  It would be a shame if that happened to Westbrook.

In defense of Russell Westbrook, he is a very instinctive player and that is where he is at his best.  Athletically, he is superior to just about anyone they put on him.

He is too tough to stop in transition, and his presence on the court with Durant gives OKC another scoring option when the other team decides to load up on their All-Star forward.

The reason he has to play the way he does is that there is not a reliable third scoring option in their starting lineup.  He has to be aggressive. 

The problem is that his aggressive play leads to him being out of control and making bad decisions.  Even though he has a green light, it doesn't mean that he shouldn't defer.

If they lose to Memphis and perception is that Durant didn't get enough chances to win, the talk and the questions will continue. 

Durant doesn't have a problem with his running mate.  That is just the kind of guy he is.  He recognizes that Westbrook wants to win just as bad as he does and is relentless on both sides of the court.  Players like that are hard to find. 

The Thunder management needs to take a hard look at their team, add another scoring threat and see if Westbrook can be more of a point guard and make some of the other players better.  If they honestly feel that they might be better with a different kind of point guard, then they have to think of trading him for as much as they can get.

Of course, if they win it all, they will be just one big happy family.  It is amazing that at the beginning of the season, you would have been laughed at if you brought up this issue.

Now, it is a legitimate possibility.