That item being the willingness to get in Russell Westbrook’s face, early and often. Blogging for GQ.com, The Best Show On WFMU’s Tom Scharpling makes no attempt to hide his deep admiration for Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (“when I spout off about Durant to friends, it feels like I’m up to something, trying to get them to take the bait..now I know how Ron Paul supporters must feel”), though makes the very reasonable suggestion the Thunder’s success is largely dependent on Westbrook learning the value of deferring to the man Tom refuses to call “Durantula”(“a handle that only diminishes us all”).
Any squad with Westbrook and Durant playing at their best is automatically one of the best in the game. But the biggest might be that while there is only one Durant—a frighteningly multi-dimensional player who can wreak havoc at just about any spot on the floor and from whom we have yet to see at his very best!—there are always a few guys like Westbrook kicking around. And those flashy point guards get traded when it’s time to actually win—just ask Jason Williams.
Hopefully Westbrook gets with the program and realizes that while he’s truly great, he’s sharing the ball with a once-a-generation player, and that might just be how it goes when you’re trying to win it all. The other side of the coin is ugly—there are plenty of dominant offensive-minded guards on losing teams, scoring empty point after empty point to the benefit of nobody outside of the fantasy sports player.
And here’s to Durant realizing that there’s nothing wrong with getting a little loud and declaring yourself The Man. Players have done it throughout the history of the NBA—at one point Cedric Ceballos nicknamed himself ‘The ‘Chise’! (As in ‘The Franchise’! And he was just okay! Which is why he was another one of my favorites!) With his current temperament he’s more likely to consider wearing a basketball rim around his neck to trick Westbrook into throwing the ball his way, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.