The rumors from some quarters of the web (and swaths of the media) are loud: Russell Westbrook is not a good teammate. It stems from his ball dominate style and stats hunting (at times) on the court, plus the way he pushes those around him, but it branches out to his at times surly attitude off the court. People have blamed Westbrook for Kevin Durant leaving, and Westbrook plays into the narrative.
Jerami Grant is having none of that.
The power forward re-signed with the Thunder this season and stood up tall for Westbrook when speaking to Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype about the rumors Westbrook is a poor teammate.
“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. 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.”
Westbrook seems a good person (as much as we can really tell about these players from arm’s length). No doubt he can be a generous teammate.
Playing with him is not for everyone. The same can be said of Kobe, Jordan, Garnett and others — the really driven guys don’t tolerate players not putting in the effort, and they can dominate the ball for long stretches, forcing other players to adjust to them. The game revolves around them. Some players are good with that and know how to play off it, those who want to be with Westbrook in OKC, but there are some who do not.
Durant looked at the joy the Warriors play with — a reflection of Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr — and wanted to be part of that experience. So he bolted. George came in, liked Westbrook and OKC, and is staying. They viewed things differently.
Grant is with Westbrook for a couple of years now, so he better get along with him.