Someone — anyone — who can provide a little rest for Russell Westbrook (and keep the offense afloat while he’s sitting) is needed in Oklahoma City.
Enter Cameron Payne. The second-year point guard was good enough as a rookie to take the backup job from veteran D.J. Augustine, but he has missed all of this season following a fractured foot (not the first time for this injury with him). Now it looks like the Thunder could get him back in the coming weeks. Via Chris Haynes of ESPN.
OKC could use Payne back on the court. He averaged five points a game last season, but his game seemed to develop this summer where he was impressive in the Orlando Summer League this year averaging 18.8 and four assists per game.
When Westbrook is on the court, Oklahoma City has an offensive rating of 106.3 points per 100 possessions, which would be ninth in the NBA this season. When he is off the court, that falls to 92.9 per 100, which would be the worst in the NBA by a large margin. That load is starting to wear on Westbrook, he’s shooting 39.7 percent in his last 10 games. And there has been frustration. Payne getting healthy and improving the offense while Westbrook rests would be huge for the Thunder.