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Oklahoma City Thunder: Man On A Mission

With Kevin Durant gone, Russell Westbrook now has complete control of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On July 4th, Kevin Durant shocked the world when he announced he would be leaving the Thunder to joining the Golden State Warriors. This meant leaving behind Russell Westbrook, his teammate for 8 years.

Just a couple months before this decision, the Thunder had been on the brink of pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history. They had a 3-1 lead over the Warriors before losing the final 3 games of the series.

The consensus was that Durant would resign with the Thunder and go after the Warriors again next year. However, Durant had other things in mind.

Shortly after Durant’s decision, the media began questioning Westbrook’s future with the team. There was a huge belief that Westbrook wouldn’t resign with the Thunder and that the Thunder would be forced to trade him.

Thunder fans were in disbelief, they could be going from one of the best teams in the Western Conference to a team in the rebuilding stage.

On August 4th, exactly one month after Durant’s decision, Westbrook and the Thunder agreed on a 3 year contract extension.

Westbrook was now OKC’s hero.

Westbrook’s mentality has always been that’s he going to war with whoever is on his team, no matter who that may be. Even in high school, he could’ve transferred to another school with more talent but that didn’t entice him. What he wanted was to win with the guys he grew up starving with.

Kendrick Perkins had a nickname for teammates who he thought were soft. The name was “cupcake”. After Durant announced he was going to Golden State, Westbrook posted a picture of 3 plates of cupcakes on Instagram.

Westbrook’s recent Jordan commercial may have been another shot at Durant, the commercial features the tagline, “some run, some make runways”.

In the 2014-2015 season, Durant was limited to 27 games due to injury. During the time he missed, Westbrook averaged 28.1 points, 8.6 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game.

If this is any indication of what Russell’s numbers will be like this year, then the NBA should watch out.

The roster around Westbrook isn’t that bad to begin with. He has two formidable big men in Steven Adams and Enes Kanter and a young star in Victor Oladipo. I think Westbrook could lead this team to the 4th seed in the Western Conference, but I’m sure he has higher goals than just that.

The Thunder, just about 5 years ago had one of the best young cores in the league that included, Westbrook, Durant, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka.

Now it’s just Westbrook.

One of the most fiery, passionate, most electrifying players we’ve ever seen has a goal to bring a championship to Oklahoma City, the city that has stuck with him through everything.

Until he accomplishes that, Westbrook is a man on a mission.

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Matthew Carnahan

Matthew Carnahan is a NBA Columnist for RSEN. Follow him on Twitter @MattCarnahan3.

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