OKC Thunder: The adaptability of Westbrook’s game as he enters his 30’s

OKC Thunder, Russell Westbrook, (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder, Russell Westbrook, (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Having turned 30, November 12, how will OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook need to adapt his game to maintain a high level of play?

With Russell Westbrook having undergone yet another procedure on his right knee prior to the start of the season, it brings to light existing doubt of how his explosive playing style will transition into his 30’s. A fateful collision with Patrick Beverly in the first round of the 2013 playoffs ruptured the meniscus in Westbrook’s right knee, which kick-started a lengthy string of medical procedures spanning through to present day.

Westbrook is arguably one of the most, if not the most, relentlessly explosive athletes to ever grace an NBA hardwood. Despite his relatively short stature to the league average (6’7″), Westbrook can spectacularly achieve anything he sets his mind to in-game.

He plays the game at 110 percent every single minute, with a killer mentality with which he scores against any type of bodies or schemes thrown at him. Therein lies the caveat: What makes Westbrook the super-punch 6’3″ phenomena he is — is his freakish athleticism.

As history has pointed out with other players time and time again, this genetic gift can quickly dissipate, and quite abruptly so. Throughout his career, Westbrook has picked up troublesome habits: his defensive effort is highly sporadic, his off-ball offense is nearly nonexistent, and his perimeter shooting is inconsistent.

Westbrook has an unquestionable impact on offense with his driving ability, his inside finishing, his improved passing, and up-tempo transition game.  Regardless, his explosiveness is the main, most critical factor that makes him an all-time superstar. When that is gone, how can Westbrook ensure he can continue to be an impactful player? It starts with the fundamentals.