Maurice Dixon @WriturRece
When Dion Waiters was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the often-clumsy shooting guard, who is now a member of the Miami Heat, said he and Kyrie Irving were the best backcourt in the NBA.
This bold statement sparked plenty of debate, causing some to question how can this duo be identified as the best without having a playoff appearance under their belt.
But since that comment, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have earned that distinction while other duos like DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are not too far in the rear. John Wall and Bradley Beal have the chance to join the conversation if Beal can get healthy and Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose never made their case due to what issue they had with each other.
Even though Russell Westbrook is one of the best point guards in the league and excelled beside small forward Kevin Durant, he never qualified for this discussion since he was paired with Thabo Sefolosha and Andre Roberson, who make their living on the defensive end.
But when Westbrook signed his three-year extension with the Thunder on the first Thursday of August, he earned the distinction as one half of the most athletic backcourt in the league with Victor Oladipo, who was part of a draft-night deal that sent Serge Ibaka to Orlando.
During the 2016-17 NBA season and barring injury, Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo will be the best-dunking backcourt–hands down. They will attack the paint with a vengeance.
More than just a remix of Kevin Johnson (there are Steve Francis similarities too) but a version of the former Phoenix Suns guard with unlimited adrenaline, Westbrook had a ton of emphatic one-handed and two-handed tomahawk dunks last season in the half court or open court.
While averaging 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds and notching a league-high 18 triple-doubles, Westbrook dunked the ball at least 68 times last season.
His new teammate Oladipo slammed home his fair share of highlight worthy dunks last season as well. Here are 10 of his best throwdowns during his three seasons in Orlando.
This duo’s reign won’t be threatened unless Tom Thibodeau decides to slide Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins to the same positions in Minnesota. Therefore, as certain as it is that Curry and Thompson will be holding on to their moniker as the “Splash Brothers”, whatever alias Westbrook and Oladipo earn as a dunking duo will be just as safe.
So while most of the guards in the NBA will be busy shooting 3’s or playing just to get to the free-throw line (I won’t call any names), Westbrook and Oladipo will be searching for their next victim at the rim.