Can the Oklahoma City Thunder survive without Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant

The Oklahoma City Thunder just can’t catch a break. Already dealing with a number of injuries to key players, including last season’s MVP Kevin Durant, the Thunder are now also without star point guard Russell Westbrook for the next four weeks (broken hand).

With the four-week timetable for Westbrook and Durant out until late November at the earliest, Oklahoma City will be without its two best players for at least 15 games with the potential for more.

At this point, it’s completely reasonable to wonder if the Thunder can even make the postseason. The Western Conference is a juggernaut and it won’t be easy for Oklahoma City to make up the ground lost with Durant and Westbrook out.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweeted the following about the Thunder’s situation Friday.

This is no doubt a stunning turn of events, given many viewed Oklahoma City as a lock to earn a top-three seed in the West prior to Durant’s injury.

Still, Oklahoma City has consistently been one of the best teams in the NBA with Durant and Westbrook in the lineup and something similar to a 44-18 finish to the season by the Thunder is entirely possible.

Winning 44 of 62 games is a 70.9 winning percentage. As pointed out by Daily Thunder, Oklahoma City has won 71.0 percent of its games with Durant and Westbrook in the lineup throughout the past four seasons and won 73.3 percent of their games with the two stars on the court this past season.

The Thunder are leaving themselves little room for error and Durant and Westbrook are going to need to round into form quickly after returning from injury. However, I wouldn’t bet against them. They are two freakishly talented players and will play with a sense of urgency upon return.

The Thunder are in trouble right now and the 2014-15 NBA season could have not started more terribly for them than it has.

But let’s not predict doom for this team just yet.

Oklahoma City still has a very good shot of reaching the playoffs and would be one of the more feared 6-8 seeded team in quite some time.

Author: Sam Richmond

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