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Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 10:20 am  |  98 responses

Kevin Durant Admits Thunder Need and Miss Russell Westbrook


Stating the obvious, Kevin Durant told the media that he and the rest of the OKC Thunder badly miss their injured star point guard. Facing elimination against the Memphis Grizzlies, Durant’s one-man show hasn’t been enough. Per the Oklahoman: “Kevin Durant knew full well what he had in sidekick Russell Westbrook. Still, that hasn’t stopped Westbrook’s absence from making Durant’s heart grow fonder for his All-Star point guard. Durant on Monday was asked what he’s learned about himself while playing without the injured Westbrook. ‘That we need him,’ Durant said. ‘We miss him.’ Durant entered Game 4 against Memphis averaging 34 points, 10.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocked shots in seven games without Westbrook, who recently underwent season-ending knee surgery. But the Thunder was 3-4 in those games. ‘Guys have got to step up now,’ Durant said. ‘I think I’ve taken more of a load of scoring and facilitating and rebounding. But of course when you have your All-Star out we miss him. But it’s no excuse. We still got to get the job done.’”

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  • Jyp

    James Harden trade not paying off now, huh, Presti? Bastard. Now them Grizzlies looking prime to go to finals

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    its not like they had a choice.

  • Max

    Amnesty Perk and Resign Harden.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    you need a big boy out west tho

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Hate to see KD go thru this, but now fans and critics alike get to see how hard it actually is for one player to carry a team! For me personally, as talented as KD is, his struggles bring a new level of respect for a guy like AI who carried a team to the finals on his back in 2001. The Thunder with a healthy Westbrook would give the Grizzles issues, but this series looks like a wrap!

  • Max

    Give me Collison and Harden over Perk and Collison. They still could’ve drawn in another big guy.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    collison?! im not so sold bout him

  • playa

    Mr.Obvious

  • CubicleWorker

    Cmon now, this is Durants fifth season? First time ever in this situation and it starts halfway through the first round. If they take westbrook off that’s another $16M to sign role players to. I have no doubt Durant could carry a team of role players built around him to the WCF if there was a proper season or two to adjust.

  • logues

    perkins is absolutely awful. dude should not be a starting center in the league. did u see him trying to make a move in the post last night? he has moves and coordination of a middle school kid. not to mention he might be the slowest nba player i’ve ever seen. he is hurting the thunder when he’s out there just cuz he’s so bad on offense.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    just like every basic nba center now.. not much skill, just a big body

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Never said Durant couldnt carry a team. Just said his struggles right now (in terms of being down 3-1) have built a new level of respect for a guy like AI.

  • bike

    Reportedly, KD called Kobe up and asked him how he should deal with Westbrook’s absence. Kobe promptly hung up on him.

  • TheDecision

    Some of this blame needs to go to Scott Brooks for not playing any of his youth, He has 2 first round picks on his bench that never see the floor. Granted its the playoffs and no time to play new guys but still that’s the reason they won’t win it all. I guarantee if POP or SPO had this roster Lamb or P Jones would be out there giving some type of contribution, Look at what Draymond Green is giving GS there is no way that happens without Mark Jack playing him in the regular season to be ready when D. Lee goes down or anybody for that matter. You cant say guys need to be ready to step up if they aren’t accustom to getting minutes. There’s no reason for THABO to be on the floor who is supposed to be locking up Tony Allen?

  • shockexchange

    Of course they need Westbrook. When you lose a top 10 PG then you need to replace him with a top 10 PG or better, if you want to repeat last year’s success.

  • robb

    And to think there were people who said Russ was bad for the team, “he shoots too much”, they said “he needs to give the ball to KD blah blah blah” I hope this ends that kind of discussion. OKC’s as much Westbrook’s team as it’s KD’s.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I agree he should have eased Jeremy in during the season, but not Perry….perry is sus

  • LP @ThisisEther

    They had a choice…they chose Perkins and Ibaka

  • LP @ThisisEther

    Shaq left the lakers years ago…

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I don’t think anybody ever said they don’t need Westbrook, or he is not valuable to the Thunder. I think everyone’s issue with him is the amount of shots he takes away from KD and the way he takes the shots away… The random 4th quarter pull-up brick always looms and you know its coming….Just imagine him using his talent and driving ability to create MORE shots for Durant who is shooting 50%+ from the field….but what do i know..

  • Max

    Atleast he contributes.
    Perk is just really really awful.
    Collison can hit the mid and board, while being a good passer.

  • http://twitter.com/WolfOMatic15 BMW

    But to go to the finals you need more than a “basic nba center.” Perk is the worst center left in these playoffs. Maybe even the worst in the league. Just check out the remaining centers in the playoffs: Hibbert, Noah, Duncan, Bogut, Chandler, Bosh, Gasol. All have been All-Stars within the past 2 years excluding Bogut who is considerably more skilled than Perkins. Perkins is a joke. He’s gone after this season. Draft Alex Len and pick up a solid C in free agency.

  • Max

    Russ isn’t bead for the team, he just has the potential to make them way better than how good they allready are. Everyone can see it.

  • Max

    The 01 Sixers would never make it out of the West..

  • Mack

    Obvious Remark of the Day goes to…

  • K_HOLIDAY

    East or West, carrying a team is still impressive!

  • Max

    Yeah, but KD is gonna get knocked out by the best team in the West.
    KD is carrying this team.

  • LakeShow

    Oops, you said top 10 instead of top 3.

  • shockexchange

    He shoots too much to be considered top 3. Everything the Shock Exchange says is calculated … you know what it is Lake.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    your calculator is broken.

  • LakeShow

    Precisely. He had a good road over there.

    Plus Mutombo is a beast. 14-14-3 in the playoffs is no joke.

    Plus Larry Brown had some fine coaching moments.

    Not trying to take away from AI. He deserves the praise, but he wasn’t carrying the team 100% like everyone likes to act.

  • shockexchange

    It’s CatchFade1 doing what he does… tryna “catch the fade.” The man is injured so the Shock Exchange is ‘gon fall back. However, an entry pass from time to time wouldn’t be asking too much, would it?

  • LakeShow

    Did Allen Iverson shoot too much to be considered top 3 in your calculations? What about Derrick Rose?

  • http://twitter.com/AdonKay Ado

    and where are all the people who for years have been saying Durant is better than LeBron ?? here’s your proof right here that he’s not even close….. Durant gets put in a somewhat similar situation to what LeBron had in Cleveland (not all that similar cuz Thunder’s supporting cast are much better than what LeBron had to deal with in Cleveland) anyway Durant is nice, he’s had a few nice triple doubley type games for the Thunder but he’s still just a pure scorer and nothing else at the end of the day, all the other stuff he does aside from scoring it doesn’t come naturally to him like it does for LeBron….. the passing, the defense, rebounding, etc….

    I’m not even a LeBron fan, but people need to give credit where it’s due and not make ridicilous biased opinions….
    Westbrook puts so much pressure on the defense that it makes so many things possible for his team, and they’re missing all those possibilities right now

  • shockexchange

    You’re barking up the wrong tree on A.I. Hoss. The Shock Exchange was watching him back when he was in HS. D. Rose does control the ball too much, but his teammates seemed to enjoy watching him doing all the work. Now that they’ve had to fend for themselves, when D. Rose comes back the Bulls should be more balanced and definitely a force to be reckoned with. And when you go out in the Streets and repeat this ether … make sure you cite source.

    By the way, how’s the rehab? The Shock Exchange know it hurts that L.A. is at home so soon. S.E. doesn’t even have the heart to call out Horry Jr anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    are you a barber or something? i don’t really need a fade

  • shockexchange

    Your sense of humor “ceases” to amaze the Shock Exchange

  • LakeShow

    Good luck finding anyone.
    I don’t remember a single person who said that on here…that was serious anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/OMGitsKINGDAVID Kinq David II

    everybody knows that !!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/OMGitsKINGDAVID Kinq David II

    PREACH !!!!!!

  • LakeShow

    I don’t agree.
    AI, D-Rose and Westbrook are great players and all (have been/are) very beneficial to their respective squads.

  • LakeShow

    Haha, it’s funny how many AI guys are still out there…

  • shockexchange

    Of course A.I. was beneficial … he was a one man wrecking crew. D. Rose does his thing. S.E. is just saying that he dominates the ball, prolly cause no one else wanted it. That may change when he returns. Westbrook is a good player … just not top 3. Let’s give Russ a break though. The man was a victim of that vicious submarine by the kid from Houston. Critiquing Westbrook at this point would be breaking at least 500 codes of the Streets.

  • Junior Taylor

    It’s funny that the guy that has played with Westbrook his entire career feels this way while damn near everyone else felt that Westbroook was “holding” KD back.

  • Junior Taylor

    You’re a funny dude….Lake. Take a look in the mirror and you will see that person.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the Shock Exchange is a website. And a book. Not a person. It can’t be amazed.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he was carrying the offense 100%

  • shockexchange

    nbk tryna us logic to destroy the Shock Exchange’s argument <—- "… that's that ish he don't like."

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    did you just say you don’t like logic?
    .
    .
    that sums you up perfectly. touchè

  • LakeShow

    Who are 5 PG’s you think are better than Westbrook?

  • shockexchange

    And if you wanna continue with the back talk, we can simply pick a park, or maybe not … “Cause you ain’t bout that life!”

  • LakeShow

    Okay…
    That is true.
    Defense is the other half of the game though…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i’ll pick a park. you pick an airline. and pay for tickets. i’ll pick you up at the airport.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    no i know. i have always said he carried the offense. the defense carried him. they had an above average to elite defender at EVERY position but his.

  • shockexchange

    nbk You know big America is? From the Gulfstream waters to Redwood forest? Well you know how nice the Shock Exchange is then! S.E. was shootin’ jumpers in the dark (til 2am) when you were still in pampers. He had to shoot the ball, and then go find it. You ain’t bout that life!

  • LakeShow

    Nope.
    I started the claim two season ago that Durant deserved MVP over Bron. This year I claimed that KD was on Bron’s level overall as a player.
    I was wrong, he isn’t, and I wasn’t far off.
    His defense and TO’s are the only thing keeping him from being #1.
    I stand by my statement that Durant will be better than Bron over the next season or two.
    If he isn’t better next season he will be the one after that.
    His improvement every year is just to continuous to doubt him.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I know, my dad had a light outside.

  • LakeShow

    AI was amazing, but people sometimes act like it was the greatest basketball feat ever to get that team to the Finals.
    He had a good team. Just really sh*tty talent.

  • LakeShow

    Is there any center that is as good as Mutombo was for AI in the playoffs this year?

    No.

    Marc Gasol is close, but Mutombo is a bigger impact than even Marc. Well actually maybe Marc is better.
    I’ll keep arguing with myself…

  • bill

    Not to a LebronHater. It’s around this time in his career, 5 yrs, in, people just called him a choker for not winning a championship with just a bunch of role players.

  • bill

    In 2 seasons, KD will be 26 and James will be 30….maybe he’ll be better, but I wouldn’t bet my last $5 on that horse. 3-4 yrs down the road maybe though.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    It wasn’t the greatest ever. Hakeem winning a ring in 1994 was more impressive.
    But, don’t sleep. Check out their stats during the year. No one else on the team averaged 15 points during the entire season. Read that again. NO ONE ELSE AVERAGED 15 POINTS.

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Very true. Guess when they expect the world from you, you cant deliver anything less.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it was pretty damn impressive. just the minutes and punishment he took. even to be THAT inefficient, and still have THAT much success without any other help. that’s probably top 5 individual seasons in the last 20 years (not counting Michael Jordan)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003246310246 Jason Carter

    He looks fiiine to me lol

  • bike

    I am a certified LeBron lover but after this season I would have a hard time arguing against that KD is a better offensive player. I don’t believe that KD will ever have the court vision that LeBron possesses but with his length, he could be an awesome defender. KD also has the intangible quality of wanting to be the best and win, maybe more so than LeBron.

    We. Will. See.

  • LakeShow

    Well said bike.

  • LakeShow

    You have a point.
    I’m just “hoping” i’m right.
    He has the will, ability, and desire.
    Will he put it ALL together is the question…

  • LakeShow

    I know Allen. Like I admitted to, AI carried the offense.
    But if the other guys are carrying him on the other side he didn’t “carry the team.”
    That’s my only point i’m trying to make.
    He didn’t drag that team kicking and screaming… those dudes played with heart and passion.
    But yes it is one of the great feats an individual has put together during the post season.

  • LakeShow

    Fair.

  • http://twitter.com/AdonKay Ado

    It really doesn’t seem like you comprehend natural ability and how it works….. and his defense and turnovers are the ONLY thing keepin KD from being number one ? holy cheeseballs, how’s life on planet DurantBalls ?

    the gifts that LeBron was born with, the vision of a purebred point guard, the defensive instincts of the best defender in the world, etc….etc…. all of these things are something you literally have to be born with, you can get good at it by practice, but at the end of the day a guy who was born with that type of ability is going to be superior to a guy who has learned it….
    I mean literally every single aspect of the game LeBron is and always will be better than Durant…. the only edge Durant has over Bron is the catch and shoot game, he has a hella quick trigger with massive wingspan, so he can catch and shoot anywhere and anytime he wants….. And the catch and shoot is something you learn, so Durant’s only real edge over LeBron isn’t even a natural skill, it’s something that can be learned over the years.

    even when they both get old, think about it for a second, when their athleticism leaves them, who’s more likely to be successful at the end of their career, when their explosiveness has left them… the skinniest lankiest tall guy in the league, or the guy that’s still gonna be built like a tank with natural instincts

  • JeromeDa

    But realness tho

    Westbrook Finna hold Durant back cuz he play iso and holds ball too much.

    Thunder should kept core of harden, Durant, Jeff green with serge collision play center.

    Maynor Jackson good enuff pg

  • LakeShow

    Rebuttal: Your wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    i don’t think any basketball fan disagrees with the idea that the Sixers played as a team, and if not for injuries, I think they could have taken that Lakers team to six or seven. They wouldn’t have won the series because Shaq was just that dominant and rarely was called for offensive fouls back then.
    And Iverson was actually average as an on-ball defender back then, and pretty spectacular in the passing lanes. He was a great cog for the team as a whole, and they transitioned from defense to offense in amazing fashion. He got progressively worse at defense after that year.

  • The Philosopher

    Iverson never made his teams better.
    His teams made him better.

  • http://twitter.com/AdonKay Ado

    you’ve got to be the consistently the lamest commenter on Slam, I really shouldn’t have wasted my time even trying to explain common sense to you…. I tried man, I really tried getting through…

    all good though, you can go sit in that corner act like I just stole your cookies

  • Max

    If KD would play an entire season without Westbrook, his numbers would he legendary.
    The team would suffer tho.

  • Max

    Lebron had good defenders, and they knew their roles.
    Reggie became a starter, Ibaka a 2nd option, …
    You can only say this after KD would be the only man on a team for an entire season.

  • Max

    Who’s more likely to be successful at the end of their career, when explosiveness has left them…
    Lebron: A guy that relies heavily on his explosiveness and speed to get points.
    Or
    KD: A guy who can shoot from anywhere in the gym, right over anybody.

  • JustSayin

    Troll…..

  • LakeShow

    But seriously, give me the cookies back.

  • Guest

    what about his court vision?

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    you need a big out west tho

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    i know collison is a good piece. but hes not a strong one.

  • danpowers

    erm… uhm…. hmmmm…. do i still have my call-abuddy lifeline? or should i take the audience assistance?… nah, i’ll go with the 50/50

  • Max

    huh?

  • Max

    Neither is Perk.

  • The Saviour

    KD needs to work on bulking up a little, his strength lets him down alot. As someone has posted out though Lebron has 4 years on him….4years from now I see him as better than Lebron is now.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I’ve had many basketball convos ,on and off SLAM, and I’ve honestly never ever heard or seen anyone imply Durant was better than LeBron…. Get those squares out of your circle, if those are the things your friends are saying…

  • danpowers

    was a reference to the tv show “who wants to be a millionaire” (like in slumdog millionaire. im afraid almost any country out there got this f*cking game show). guys get asked questions for money until they reach a million or get eliminated for wrong answers. the modus contains one question and normally 4 available multiple choice answers. they have 3 lifelines being able to call a friend, ask the audience and halve the amount of possible answers in case they dont know the correct answer.

    back to your question: i wanted to use the 50/50 one on your question. so if you please eliminate the wrong answer, id like to chose the correct one

    in other words… my joke went awfully wrong

  • Max

    lol, ok.

  • russian guy

    First of all,I think we should put more emphasis on the prime of a players career as a final career judgment.Second,it depends on how Lebron will be able to fit his game into a declining athletic ability,but he will still be big,powerful and will have court vision/awareness.Maybe he will make the transition into a full ’4′ ,or into more of a point foward.I don’t see KD ever being able to put that much muscle on his body or maybe even reaching that natural passing ability.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni D dot Sanchez

    clogs up the middle tho

  • Lloyd

    Lebron had that team around him for an entire season. They had the whole year to learn to play together, which they did. Durant has had 5 seasons in the making learning to play off Russ and then suddenly has to adapt to a whole new game plan without him in less than a month. Can’t compare the two situations.

  • rkirby

    Whether present or not present, Russell Westbrook will always shoulder the blame for OKC losses

  • rkirby

    Actually KD is a better rebounder than Lebron, but I agree for the most part. I don’t know why Scott Brooks had him expending energy bringing up the ball on offense when Reggie Jackson proved himself to be a capable ball handler. Durant needed to be a scorer for that team to win as Jackson/Ibaka/Martin could only do so much. A good portion of the blame has to go on Brooks and Presti for trying to turn Durant into something he’s not.

  • rkirby

    Holy cow! Lebron was a terrible defender when he first came in the league! He started playing respectable defense in like his 7th season. Durant is progressing faster than Lebron did. Durant has been a better rebounder than Lebron from the jump.

  • http://twitter.com/AdonKay Ado

    Oooh I don’t know about KD being a better rebounder at all, not only career rebound stats will tell a different story but you can just tell when you watch them play who is better. KD might trick you into thinking it because he’s got that long wingspan, but he doesn’t understand positioning nearly as well as LeBron, especially on the offensive side… how many of those sweet offensive thievery boards and putbacks do we see LeBron do…..

    But yea far as Presti most of the blame goes to him in my opinion beggining from the signing of Perkins which got them cash strapped enough not to have a good shot or money left over for Harden. He basically went with Perk over Harden, then he also got rid of Jeff Green, why the hell he not re sign him… he put together a great team, and just as well as putting it together he dismantled it just as well, thinking the Westbrook Durant combo should be enough

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