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10 Players That Left Westbrook And OKC In The Last 7 Years

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

Russell Westbrook should be getting a lot of credit for all the things he does, and there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s one of the best point guards (and players) in the league by a long shot when he’s actually locked in.

Thing is, he tends to overdo everything and doesn’t seem to trust his teammates enough, something that definitely takes a major toll on his team’s chances to succeed despite his great efforts.

Naturally, that (as well as his big mouth and harsh attitude) has earned Westbrook a lot of detractors among fans, media and even his colleagues. That’s why today, we’re going to talk about 10 players that bailed on Westrbook and succeeded out of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

10. Taj Gibson

Taj Gibson news conference smiles

Taj Gibson is by far one of the most underrated defenders in all of the NBA, but not even him paired with Steven Adams seemed enough to make up for most of OKC’s defensive flaws en route to playoff success, a huge reason why he decided to leave the team and join the Timberwolves this season.

Gibson spent just a couple of months playing with Westbrook on the trade that sent Cameron Payne to the Bulls, making Domantas Sabonis lose a lot of playing time after getting off to a terrific start of his career.

9. Domantas Sabonis

Credit: USA Today

Credit: USA Today

Domantas Sabonis was dealt to the Indiana Pacers in the Paul George trade and truth to be told, it seems like the best thing that could ever happen to him, as he was just not going to get enough touches next to Russell Westbrook and was already diminished to a substitute role by coach Donovan.

Sabonis is an extremely effective scorer, a good rebounder, a willing facilitator and a terrific shooter, and even though he’s never going to be as impressive as his old man, he was never going to fulfill his potential playing with the Thunder.

8. Jeff Green

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It feels like Jeff Green has never truly achieved his full potential, and we were always left expecting way more out of him after he was drafted as high as 5th overall in 2007, and some may argue most of it is because he was always stuck behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook over the first few years of his career.

After being considered as a huge bust and a guy that may never explode, he’s actually found ways to become a very productive player off the bench, being a huge factor for the Cavs in this year’s playoffs.

7. Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson OKC

Reggie Jackson used to back up Russell Westbrook and even handle the starting playmaking duties when the Brodie was sidelined with injuries, but he believed he could outplay him and deserved a bigger role on the team, something that forced Presti’s hand to just part ways with him.

Needless to say, Jackson isn’t nearly half as good as he actually thinks he is, but he’s getting a lot of money and is the Detroit Pistons starting point guard, so things definitely worked out for him perfectly. Now, the injury-prone scorer needs to prove that he’s actually worthy of the contract he got.

6. Dion Waiters

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Dion Waiters is yet another overconfident player that played next to the Brodie a couple of seasons ago, but surprisingly, he actually embraced his role and let Westbrook be the team’s first, second and third scoring option; doing a terrific job off the ball when Russ was forced to pass the rock.

Waiters was having a terrific season with the Miami Heat afterward but was forced to miss most of the year with injuries. Still, it seems like that time at OKC was all he needed to finally grow up and mature as a player.

5. Enes Kanter

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Enes Kanter was dealt to the New York Knicks in order to get Carmelo Anthony on board, something that up to this date, seems like a very bad move right now, considering how productive he was off the bench and the rapport he had established with Steven Adams.

Kanter wasn’t much of a defender but was a major offensive factor as a great scorer and offensive rebounder, and he had embraced a substitute role with ease before being forced out of the team.

4. Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka OKC

Serge Ibaka’s Oklahoma City Thunder tenure was actually his best on an individual level, being crowned Defensive Player of the Year and becoming one of the league’s deadliest low post defenders, shot blockers and rim protectors.

Even though he’s grown on several other aspects of his game now that he’s been with the Magic and Raptors, and he’s become one of the main reasons why Toronto is one of this year’s team to beat.

3. Victor Oladipo

AP Photo/Alonzo Adams

AP Photo/Alonzo Adams

Victor Oladipo was looking like kind of a bust over his first couple of years with the Magic, and even though he played really well next to Westbrook, he finally flourished when he left the team en route to becoming an All-Star and most likely the league’s Most Improved Player of the year right now.

Oladipo really grew a lot this season and made the Pacers feel like they definitely won the Paul George trade, and he’s looking like the kind of franchise player everybody expected him to be when he was drafted 2nd overall.

2. James Harden

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James Harden didn’t bail on Westbrook or the team, but with him unwilling to take more money in order to keep Ibaka on board as well, he was dealt to the Houston Rockets on a huge deal that winds up giving Houston their franchise player and perennial MVP candidate for years to come.

Harden is playing the best basketball of his career and is now leading the Rockets in the playoffs after taking them all the way to the best record in basketball, and it’s safe to assume he would’ve never become nearly half as good as he is right now if he had to share touches with Durant and Westbrook for longer.

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1. Kevin Durant

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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kevin Durant definitely betrayed not just Russell Westbrook, but all of OKC’s fans when he decided to join forces with the very same team that destroyed them in the playoffs, earning a lot of detractors by that kind of disloyal move and being labeled as a soft player by his peers and the fans.

But, even so, Durant played at his best during his first season with the Dubs, made them better in both ends of the court and really grew as a top-tier defender and rim protector. Also, he was finally able to “stop being second” and won his first ever NBA Championship, besides winning the Finals MVP honors.