The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Jerami Grant has words for people that think Grant’s point guard, Russell Westbrook, is a bad teammate.
“That’s just ignorant,” Grant said when confronted by Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about what it’s like to play alongside a player as ball-dominant as Russell Westbrook.
Though it might seem like Westbrook’s pugnacious and combative play style might not mesh with his teammates, but Grant was uninterested in hearing that particular argument. He continued in the piece with Kennedy:
“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.”
The narrative, of course, is that Russell Westbrook’s incredible ball-dominance and his tendency to chase stats on his path to triple-double supremacy makes for a relatively unenjoyable experience on the court alongside him. Clearly, Carmelo Anthony had one of his worst seasons alongside Westbrook (despite Nene claiming he’s still a Top-10 player), but what of, I don’t know, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Steven Adams and James Harden?
Each of these players was able to co-exist alongside Russell Westbrook (for varying lengths of time) and flourish, so obviously the narrative of “Westbrook as bad teammate” is, as Grant says, “ignorant.” I mean, how could playing alongside someone who has plays like the ones below ever be bad?
No matter what, Westbrook is constantly engaged (even if he sometimes has some miscues on the defensive end), but his effort on the boards and, yes, even his triple-double histrionics should make him a solid teammate by themselves.