The Oklahoma City Thunder have faced the question on whether Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can co-exist on the same team for the last couple of years. Reason being? Westbrook's credentials have risen along with Durant's, and Westbrook has shown that he isn't always interested in deferring to Durant in key moments.
This isn't a knock on Westbrook, personally, although many in the public eye think otherwise. Westbrook is not only pushing Durant as the best player on his own team, but Westbrook is also pushing the others in the league as being the most valuable. He's that good. However, Westbrook is still the second-option in the Thunder offense, and NBA.com's Steve Aschburner makes a compelling case that the Thunder PG is the league's "Second Most Valuable Player" in 2012.
Let's go into this in further detail, shall we?
Aschburner has defined this mythical award as who is the league's most valuable second player on a given team, and in this theoretical discussion Westbrook edges out Dwyane Wade for the top honor. Here's Aschburner on Westbrook:
1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: Westbrook and Kevin Durant are not exactly Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside for the Thunder. More like Mr. End-to-End and Mr. Everywhere. But they provide the same sort of "Oh no, where's it coming from next!" headaches for OKC foes. They became the only teammates in NBA history to each score 40 points in the same game on two separate occasions in the same season (vs. Denver in February, vs. Minnesota in March). Westbrook might exhibit a little more sibling rivalry than Pippen did toward Jordan -- a little -- but the biggest snag to Westbrook's case as NBA 2MVP is the likelihood that, if he were to wind up playing elsewhere, Harden has the skills package and demeanor to bump from the league's Sixth Man to the Thunder's second man.
Westbrook is now only 23 years old and has ascended into the NBA's elite as one of the top players in the game, and as long as Thunder head man Scott Brooks can continue to maneuver his chess pieces accordingly, the Thunder's future in the NBA playoffs could be a bright one.
For more on the Thunder, be sure to check out Welcome to Loud City.