Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook can silence his haters vs. Utah

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 3: Russell Westbrook
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 3: Russell Westbrook /

Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook can silence a lot of his haters with playoff success, and that begins against the Utah Jazz

Russell Westbrook has gone from being one of the most widely loved players in the NBA, to now one of the most widely hated. However, the new triple-double king has a chance to silent a lot of critics over the next couple of weeks.

The Oklahoma City Thunder hold a 1-0 series lead over the Utah Jazz in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and this is the time for Westbrook to win back the public. 

The Jazz are led by my pick for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, Donovan Mitchell. They’re a good, not great, team. However, that’s besides the point. The OKC Thunder are the ones truly pressed here, specifically Russell Westbrook.

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Westbrook has seen two teammates, in the last two seasons, depart from his team and instantly become better. Literally, instantly. In every advanced stat and metric you can find, Kevin Durant and Victor Oladipo have improved since leaving Westbrook. 

That has raised a lot of questions. Is Russell a good teammate? Can you actually win with him? Does he just play for stats?

All those have been asked lately, and this first round series has a chance to put some of those to bed. Westbrook is catching a lot of flack for seemingly “stat padding” his way to another season where he averaged a triple-double.

While they’re are direct metrics and data that prove that does help his team, many still don’t buy it. If Russell can win this series averaging anything close to a triple-double, that will surely but that argument to rest.

It will also help put the he cannot win argument to bed either. Westbrook has a big opportunity to silence a lot of doubters, critics and haters this series. If it all goes, Russell Westbrook will continue to enshrine himself in the NBA history books.

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If not? Westbrook may start to be recognized as an elite talent who never figured out how to put his own agenda aside to win basketball games.