The triple-double crown and a MVP to go with it. These are the awards Russell Westbrook has earned this season. He has dominated game after game, even when the Oklahoma City Thunder loses games. Westbrook has played remarkably well in his first season as “the guy.” But there is only one drawback to his record breaking, MVP season; Westbrook will not end the season with a ring.
There have been many great players in the NBA who have won the MVP award, but the most important award in the NBA is the NBA championship. Some say that a championship ring doesn’t change the legacy of a player, but we all know it does. Without a ring, some NBA legends don’t even consider good players to be great.
A ring allows a player to sit at the big boy table. Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Famer, dominated the NBA when he once played, but he has no ring to go with his dominance; Michael Jordan made sure Charles went ring-less.
In the case of Russell Westbrook, he might be going down the same path as Charles, where he is always close to a ring but will never get one. Kevin Durant, Westbrook former teammate, left for greener pastures last off-season when he decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors instead of staying with Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC). Some say that was a coward move by Durant when he decided to leave OKC for the team that beat him in the Western Conference Finals, but let’s be honest, Kevin Durant left for the opportunity to get a championship.
In this new era of NBA basketball, if you’re not on a super-team like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, you are basically playing for third place. There are some exceptions to this, the San Antonio Spurs, have with stood the change the NBA has gone through. Coach Popovich has created a championship atmosphere in San Antonio and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Westbrook needs to consider getting traded to another team with a chance at winning a title; or he needs to request for more qualified help. Westbrook has the skills to lead a team to a championship, but the Thunder don’t have the pieces for Westbrook to work with. The Thunder are 45-34 this season and siting 6th in the west. If the Thunder drop any lower they will face a Spurs team ready to win another ring or maybe the Warriors.
Westbrook will most likely win the MVP award this year, but he must wait a few more years before he can hoist a NBA championship.