Russell Westbrook’s leisure is indeed a burden

After Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 17 assists in a win opposite a Knicks in late November, he gave his postgame talk while sitting on a bench. He was too tired to stand.


His opening in that diversion meant that he was strictly averaging a triple-double for a season. The doubt of either he was able of chasing down Oscar Robertson — with Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka left and a Thunder usually contingent on him — was a blazing account a notation Durant motionless to leave for Golden State.

Right before a debate started, Westbrook and Jordan Brand expelled an ad that seemed to be in response to Durant’s departure. A minute-long brief of Westbrook, his hermit and others dancing to Lil Uzi Vert’s “I Do What we Want.”

It’s a dictatorial square of selling that relies on a years-held beliefs of Westbrook fanatics — fans and media comparison — that he was being hold behind by personification with other superstars. While he achieved copiousness with Durant, Ibaka and Harden, he would never strech his full intensity unless he was authorised his possess team.

Thus, Let Westbrook be Westbrook.

He did this when Durant was harmed in a 2014-15 season, apropos usually a third actor in NBA story to record back-to-back 40-point triple-doubles. Forty, 13 and 11 opposite a Blazers on Feb. 27; then 49-15-10 opposite a 76ers on Mar 4. The other dual players to have achieved this attainment are Michael Jordan and Pete Maravich. Westbrook forsaken 5 triple-doubles in 6 games, averaged 33-10-10 over a 10-game span, and surfaced a deteriorate with a sum of 18 triple doubles—five some-more than second-place Draymond Green.

In Durant’s absence, Westbrook showed how many some-more he could do when given a chance. This usually strong a faith that this requirement to share a light with Durant was holding him back.

Against his wishes, he was postulated that freedom. It’s been hidden that Durant left since Westbrook was too selfish, too domineering, and blinded by his possess talent. And so Durant, for his possess consequence and destiny success, went to play with a presumably unselfish players in Golden State instead of staying with a villainous, determined Westbrook.

But Westbrook fought for Durant to stay. He courted him as strongly as any of his other recruiters since he seemed to know many some-more about a boundary of a sole wolf conditions than a onlookers perpetually intrigued during a suspicion of Westbrook carrying a Thunder to himself.

No matter, he responded to Durant’s exit and his new existence by signing an prolongation to stay with a Thunder and going ultra-Westbrook. He took his 2014-15 self and softened on it. He managed to somehow warn when it seemed stupid to consider he could strech another level.

But that’s what happening. He’s averaging a triple-double, thrusting himself to a tip of a MVP ladder, and boring his group into contention.

It’s implausible to declare an contestant — a tellurian being — that doesn’t seem calm by a same earthy boundary as everybody else. Westbrook is doing things that would be irrational in video games. Absurd in a imagination. Unbelievable and laughable in reality.

Russell Westbrook dunking.

Russell Westbrook doesn’t seem calm by a same earthy boundary as everybody else.
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE around Getty Images

What he’s doing, though, hides that deadly smirch that was benefaction in his 2014-15 performance—a law that he contingency have famous when he appealed for Durant to stay: That this ostensible leisure is a lie, a trap sheltered as liberation.

With Durant (and even Harden), Westbrook managed to strech a NBA Finals and a Western Conference Finals twice. Their failures usually came when one or a other was injured, or in a really early years of their careers. Westbrook and Durant—counter to a account that they clashed—worked intensely good together on a court. They had a intensity to be better, though a justification of their cultivatable partnership is obvious.

On his own—even with a able ancillary expel of Victor Oladipo, Enes Kanter, and Steven Adams—it’s tough to see Westbrook reaching those heights again. This deteriorate will finish as it did dual years ago, with Westbrook behaving superhuman feats while his group eventually falls short. Maybe they make a playoffs this time, though a grander idea of a pretension (or even contending for one) won’t be a reasonable prospect.

Miroslav Holub, a Norwegian producer and scientist, explored this misinterpretation of leisure in his book “Intensive Care.” In a underline patrician “Although,” he writes:

“We direct leisure also in courtesy to what we have openly chose. But this leisure goes opposite itself. This leisure means capture in a approximate, a impossible, a unreal; capture in futility…This regretful tellurian is not human, though a shelter from a human. It is not a accomplishment of being, though a retrogression to being though needs, though fulfillment, though essence. Freedom is not a lapse to void though generosity of being. Freedom is not retrogression from formation and determinacy though realization of a aloft forms of relatedness. And dependence. In a retreat box a new-born child would be some-more giveaway than Beethoven or Comenius; and an opossum than a new-born child.”

The aloft form of relatedness in this context is Kevin Durant with a Warriors. His diversion didn’t lessen with his relocation to a Bay Area. He’s still in a MVP race, he has softened defensively as he’s being asked to use a full extent of his talents, and he’s doing all of this on a group that many would hold a favorite to win it all.

Durant has found a loyal leisure that allows him to be during his best, while partial of a complement with good ambitions. He helps them comprehend their potential, and they lapse a favor. Unlike Westbrook, Durant doesn’t always have to be during his best for his group to succeed. The leisure from that vigour allows him to collect and select when and where to make his impact.

The many closely aligned fashion for Westbrook’s stream difficulty was Kobe Bryant of 2005-06.

After Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson’s departures (with rumors accusing Kobe of pulling them out), Kobe went Full Kobe. In 77 games, he averaged 35.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals. He scored 62 points in 3 buliding opposite a Dallas Mavericks, 81 opposite a Raptors, and finished a deteriorate environment group annals for many 40-point games (27) and sum points scored (2,832). He won a scoring title, finished fourth in MVP voting and willed a Lakers to a 45-37 record.

At a finish of a following 2006-2007 season, he asked for a trade. He cited being lied to and not being surrounded by “appropriate” talent as his reasons. Even Kobe came to comprehend that he couldn’t do it alone.

It wasn’t Westbrook’s wish that he should be in a identical predicament, though he embraced it by signing an prolongation with a Thunder. His championed faithfulness sealed him in. And it can’t be ignored that he’s doing all in his energy to assistance his group attain and quarrel opposite a burdening existence of futility.

It’s usually humiliating to know that he has to be this good in sequence for his group to survive. He contingency follow Oscar Robertson, not since a context of a good group allows him a leisure to do so, though that a leisure that should have authorised him to be during his best has trapped him in this downright endeavor. He will have one of a best statistical seasons ever…and nonetheless he will tumble brief of a NBA Finals, or anything him and Durant achieved together. That can’t be what he wants.


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