The Emancipation of Russell Westbrook

Jordan ClarkeContributor IIIMay 26, 2011

DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on in the first half while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 25, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

No sooner than the end of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals did you hear the sound of thunder beginning to boom louder. 

There’s been a storm brewing on the horizon for a few weeks now and it seems to be centered on OKC’s multi-talented but oft maligned All-Star Russell Westbrook. You might know Westbrook—he’s the guy that’s been blamed this week for the collapse of the Thunder in this series, the NFL lockout, famine and the rapture.  While Westbrook has not had a great series, he hasn’t been particularly awful either:

Game 1: 20 pts, 3rbs, 3assists, 4 turnovers

Game 2: 18 pts, 3rbs, 4assists, 4 turnovers

Game 3: 30 pts, 2rbs, 4assists, 7 turnovers

Game 4:  19 pts, 8rbs, 8assists, 6 turnovers

Game 5:  31pts, 8rbs, 5assists, 3 turnovers

On this particular OKC team this year, I would take those numbers, less a few pastries.  And lest we not forget, he did have a triple-double in a Game 7 win against the Grizzles last round. Only Bird, West, Worthy and Pippen have done that.  

Where would OKC be without Westbrook? Ping pong ball watching with their mascot Rumble. The average age of this team is a shade under 24 years old. This group doesn’t even know what they're doing yet.

Oklahoma City fans, do us causal, really only watching-during-the-playoffs-because-the-money-is- on-the-line-a favor, east coast biased fans a favor. Don’t spend the offseason listening to ex-NBA-ers and sportscasters looking for a news story rant about how a third-year budding superstar is woefully unsuited for playing with Kevin Durant. Durant, whether Westbrook is there or not, is still gonna get his. Management would be better served moving Westbrook to the two-guard he really is and finding some additional front line work for a group of guys who underachieved this series.

Most of us just found Oklahoma City anyway, and truth be told, we kinda like what we see.

Free Russell Westbrook.