Russell Westbrook has certainly taken a lot of criticism over the past couple weeks. Unfortunately, almost all of it has been warranted by his play.
Westbrook struggled in the playoffs when it mattered. He turned the ball over, took bad shots, yelled at Scott Brooks and had trouble finding open teammates. Wait, did I mention he turned the ball over?
In the series against Dallas, Westbrook averaged just as many assists per game as he did turnovers, at 4.8. For a "point guard" this simply cannot happen.
Not only was Westbrook suspect at handling the ball, his benching for the fourth quarter of Game 2 is not a good sign. Attitude problems can destroy a team and Oklahoma City cannot allow that to happen.
Not only was Westbrook benched in the fourth quarter of that game, that was also the only game the Thunder won. Coincidence? I think not.
Oklahoma needs to trade Westbrook while his stock is still high. Here are five trades the Thunder should look into involving Russell Westbrook in.
Steve Nash may be old, but the man still has it. Nash plays the point guard position in a perfect manner. He is smart, a great passer, has amazing vision, gets teammates involved, can shoot from anywhere and has great leadership skills.
For a young team, Nash could be the veteran leader they need. He has all the playoff experience the Thunder need to take them to the next level.
If the Thunder got Nash, Kevin Durant would score even more, which is a scary thought.
Nash has the great ability to make everyone around him better, something that Westbrook knows nothing about.
Though this deal is highly unlikely, Nash would be a great fit in Oklahoma City.
Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks had a let down season in 2010-2011. Jennings' numbers were down from his rookie year and the Bucks failed to make the playoffs.
However, Jennings could be in line for a bounce-back season in 2011. He will turn 22 in September, meaning Jennings hasn't come close to how great he can be.
With his cat-like quickness, toughness at the point guard position, shooting ability and his overall team leadership, he's a good candidate for a trade.
The Thunder need to go in the direction of a true point, something that Jennings exemplifies.
Milwaukee's first-round pick from last year, Larry Sanders, is no throw in player either.
Don't be surprised if Jennings rumors start at some point.
Deron Williams is one of the headline free agents for next season. If New Jersey is unable to reel in another superstar, the Nets are certain to deal Williams before they lose him for nothing.
Why not Oklahoma City? The quietly fabulous Williams would fit in perfect with Oklahoma City.
Williams is 26 years old, so his blend of experience and ability to get better make him one of the hottest commodities in the NBA.
Williams' ability to do it all would help the Thunder. Like I mentioned earlier, the Thunder desperately need a true point guard who can run an offense effectively.
Deron Williams rumors will be aplenty this year, so Oklahoma City should go ahead and throw their name in the hat.
While this deal would be much more complex than just two players for two players, it still has the ability to get done, given time.
Stephen Curry is definitely a player the Thunder should look into. After all, the Warriors admitted this past season that they plan on trading Curry at some point.
Curry's expanding knowledge of the game would help the Thunder in a variety of ways. With his basketball IQ, ball handling skills, exceptional court vision and dead eye shooting, Stephen Curry and the Thunder could be a match made in heaven.
Curry may not be a "true" point guard just yet, but he is adjusting well to the position. To Curry's credit, it's really hard to get any sort of offense set up when the one-man show of Monta Ellis is going off.
At 23 years old, Curry would fit in just fine with the youthful Thunder.
This trade would be somewhat surprising and genius for the Thunder moving forward.
Just thinking about Chris Paul in a Thunder jersey makes me smile. He would immediately place the Thunder as the favorites in the West for years to come.
Let's face the facts.There is no way that Chris Paul will be in New Orleans after the next trade deadline. With that out of the way, it's time for Oklahoma City to push for a once-in-a-lifetime point guard.
The Thunder could have an amazingly bright future with All-World players Chris Paul and Kevin Durant. They would certainly have to give up a lot, but for a player like Paul, it would be worth it.
Paul has the true-point guard abilities the Thunder need. He is great at the pick and roll and can find open teammates at will.
He has been visibly unhappy in New Orleans, and a change of scenery should up his production. With no other viable offensive weapons in New Orleans, Paul has to take bad shots way too often.
There will be plenty of other suitors chasing Paul, but the Thunder might have the most to offer in return.
Help me out Thunder fans, let's get the Chris Paul to Oklahoma City rumor going!