The Thunder need Steve Nash even more than the Suns do.
Yes, I know that statement seems unreal. We’ve seen for years what it does to the Suns when Nash just sits on the bench. The idea of not having Steve Nash at all is even more disturbing.
Before we get to the Suns, let’s look at the Thunder. Russell Westbrook must be stopped. The problem is that statement goes for the Thunder opponents and the Thunder themselves.
Westbrook is simply not a point guard. Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury types of point guards can not win championships. When your point guard takes the most shots, the rest of your offense stands still. When your offense stands still, so does your defense.
NBA players have massive egos. They have to. Personal stats equal playing time for bench players and money for starters. If your point guard is taking shots with no passes to even start the offense —- Westbrook has done this over 30 times in the OKC/MEM series -— other players look at that as a direct attack on personal income to raise a family.
Don’t believe the high-fives and chest bumps. Russell Westbrook can’t last as the point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder and keep all Thunder on the floor happy. They need Steve Nash.
Ibaka immediately becomes a top 3 center in the league with Steve Nash. Durant might become an MVP. Since Westbrook is a great scorer, now he doesn’t have the burden of bringing the ball up and leading the offense.
There’s no way a great free agent point guard would ever want to live in Oklahoma City so the only way the Thunder can get one is through the draft or a trade.
Since they are only a great point guard away from being a championship contender, they can afford to part with future draft picks. The Thunder need to make it happen.
Obviously, that brings up the second part of the equation, the Suns trading Steve Nash. I must have picks to make the move. It’s not too much to ask for two first round draft picks. Granted, these picks will be late first-rounders but it gives the Suns the flexibility to possibly move up in the draft by packaging the picks together. I’m not done though. The Suns would need an NBA ready guard right now. The Thunder have one, or numerous ones.
The easy choice is Westbrook himself.
At first you’ll hesitate and assume the Thunder would never give up Russell Westbrook, but why not? If you believe Westbrook will develop into a pass-first point guard, then I disagree with you but it does blow my argument. If we can agree that he will always be a shoot-first point guard then OKC will never win a title with Kevin Durant and Westbrook. You can’t have a potential MVP going 9 minutes in the fourth quarter without a shot attempt and that’s exactly what happened in Game 4 of the OKC/MEM series. It has to be Westbrook at the point or Kevin Durant on the team. It won’t work with both for very long as egos and seasons go by. Once you accept Durant needs a pass-first point guard then you either need to move Westbrook to the two-guard or move Westbrook altogether.
The other option: bring James Harden home.
Watch the OKC offense when Harden starts the possession. The ball moves. Every player is moving with their hands up because they know Harden might feed them at any moment. When Harden shoots it’s only because the defense gave him the shot. Although Westbrook is a better overall basketball player than Harden, James is developing faster as a point guard.
If you’re reading this and saying, “The Thunder would never trade Westbrook or Harden for Nash,” then I’m saying the Thunder will break apart before winning a championship.