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Rumor: No Thunder coach has ever told Russell Westbrook what he needs to hear

Russell Westbrook

The struggles for the Oklahoma City Thunder have come to the surprise of fans and teams around the league, who expected the coalition of All-Star talent in Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony would result in a winning formula.

For one veteran player, the problem with this equation starts and ends with the coach and his voice in the locker room.

via Peter Vecsey of Patreon:

A veteran NBA forward observer attests neither Scott Brooks nor Donovan ever told Russell Westbrook the shot he just hoisted was shitty.

“Nobody tells him when he needs to hear. Nobody calls him out for drifting on defense, which he does all the time, except against Steph Curry. He goes to sleep when he comes across half court and wakes up going the other way. Nobody has shown him what he must do to win a championship.”

Westbrook finally had the unleashing he’s always wanted last season, showcasing his true potential as a Swiss army knife — recording a triple-double for the season and beating Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record. But that’s how Westbrook has played his whole career, only muted by the presence of another alpha in Kevin Durant, and now with George and Anthony.

We can play the facade that Westbrook is a team player and only wants Ws on his resume, but at the end of the day — his play reflects completely the opposite — showing his unselfishness by trying to take over the game, committing almost purposeful lapses on defense, and even asking his center Steven Adams to “shoot it” so that he can notch a triple-double.

Winning starts with responsibility and Westbrook’s lack of conscience (which makes him a great offensive player) has made him at times a predictable one, as well as his desire to only fully tune-in for the games that he deems matter.