Is OKC Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook on the back end of his career?

Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

For better or worse, OKC Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has been the emotional and competitive leader for his team for the past three seasons. Many wonder if his play is declining and if he on the back end of his career.

OKC Thunder superstar point guard Russell Westbrook is arguably the most polarizing player in the NBA. From impersonal and contentious media interviews to heated player rivalries, to altercations with fans in the crowd, Russell Westbrook knows how to stay in the news. As a result, fans either love him or hate him – there isn’t much room for anything in between.

Westbrook has experienced several eras during his tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder. First, he enjoyed what was the franchise’s most successful era with former teammate turned rival, Kevin Durant. Together, along with James Harden through the 2011-12 campaign, the duo helped the Thunder advance to the playoffs on six separate occasions.

Their first trip ended in a first round exit. The other five trips saw OKC advance to the Western Conference Semifinals once, the Western Conference Finals three times, and the NBA Finals once. Through all of it, Westbrook and his aggressive game play were never perceived as the premier leading element for any of those squads.

Upon Durant’s transition to the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 free agency period, Westbrook had a year on his own as the sole superstar on the team. It was then that the All-Star point guard made a point to show his worth by being the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double for an entire season. Westbrook was rewarded for his efforts with the NBA Most Valuable Player award. Unfortunately, his heroics only carried the team to the first round of playoffs.

Lastly, general manager Sam Presti gave his best attempt at providing Westbrook another star player to share the burden of leading the OKC Thunder to a hopeful championship, this time in the form of Paul George. Disappointingly, the trio, to include Steven Adams, has failed to live up to expectations as they once again lost in the first round of playoffs for the third straight season.

This leaves many fans to wonder if Russell Westbrook has enough talent and willpower to carry his team to another NBA Finals. Most would probably agree he has enough of both to do so. However, fans are then left to wonder if he has enough left in the tank to continue competing at a high level long enough to see Oklahoma City reach that milestone.

Is Westbrook on the back end of his career, and is his play declining?

Read on to find out how Russell Westbrook’s three major statistical categories have changed through the various eras in OKC Thunder history and whether or not his play truly is declining.