There’s a narrative among some fans and members of the media that Russell Westbrook is a bad teammate.
When Kevin Durant departed the Oklahoma City Thunder and joined the Golden State Warriors, some saw this as an indication that he just wanted to get away from the 2017 MVP.
Westbrook is a ball-dominant player on the court and a strong personality and this was seen as one reason why KD left.
But Paul George’s decision to re-sign with the Thunder this summer to continue playing with Westbrook showed that the narrative may not be entirely true.
Setting the record straight
Another player who signed a new long-term deal to stay with OKC this offseason was Jerami Grant and he has dismissed the notion that the superstar is a bad teammate.
In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, the power forward stood up for the point guard and dismissed the rumours around him.
“That’s just ignorant. I think people just listen to the media [who say that] and believe it, but Russ is a great teammate and a great person,” Grant said.
“Players obviously want to play with him. PG just re-signed to come back. I just re-signed to come back. I know of a lot of players who want to be in OKC.
“I think that’s a huge misconception in the media and I don’t know why it’s said. He’s a great player and everyone wants to play with great players because we all want to win.
“He definitely passes the ball. I’m not really sure what else to say about that. It’s just ignorance.”
This is a ringing endorsement of Westbrook and his leadership style.
Some love it, some don’t
From the outside looking in, it can certainly be difficult to play alongside the triple-double king due to his demanding behaviour and aggressive attitude on the court.
But that’s just his competitiveness and it can certainly have a positive impact on those next to him.
Playing with Russ isn’t for everyone but that can also be labelled at players like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan or Kevin Garnett who all had the same drive and passion.
Simply put, some players can deal with it but others can’t.
Durant was attracted by the style that the Warriors play and wanted to be a part of that.
George came to Oklahoma City, enjoyed his experience alongside his fellow All-Star and decided to stay for another four years.
Co-existing with Westbrook is a challenge but it’s one that both PG and Grant are willing to take on.
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