Talking Westbrook, the KD Divorce and will the makeup ever happen?
Russell Westbrook has no problems in New Orleans with former friend/teammate Kevin Durant. He seems to be enjoying himself watching the media fall all over themselves with their breakup questions while Durant seems like he has a perpetual hangover. Who is winning the divorce game?
Brendan Gillespie: Is that even a question to be asked? Really? Russ, hands down, gets it. Be cool. Anyone who has ever had a breakup knows how you play it with your family. Make your ex the villain and you are the innocent party. Maybe it is because he is from L.A. he gets media manipulation.
C.J. Hampshire: Kevin Durant is sullen. He has bad body language. It looks like he cares too much when he is trying to fake like he doesn’t care at all. For years, Durant had the nice guy image. He wanted to change that. Welcome to your new persona, dude.
Mallory Stith-Wheat: Russ is running circles around Durant and the media. He brings up fashion as a deflection. He brings up his family. He comes off as smooth and not bothered by any of it. Very likeable. When did Durant turn into someone you just don’t like when he’s not on the court. Lighten up dude with all the scowling. You won. You announced to the world Russ will never be a champion. You are having a great season.
Julian Billick: Westbrook just gets popular culture. He understands we are about heroes and bad guys. He positioned himself as the loyal gritty one by re-signing with OKC which by default turned Durant into the person you can’t trust. It was a brilliant strategy, one in which Westbrook will never have to pay a cost.
If Durant wins the MVP how long will it take Westbrook to bolt the court while he is being handed the trophy?
C.J.: 10 seconds tops. No way is he hanging around to see Durant get anything. But I am the only one who thinks all this is fake. That Westbrook doesn’t really give a s**t about Durant but he is media savvy and is playing it up.
Mallory: Westbrook will stay on the court but he’ll roll his eyes and make some mocking face gesture. Or he will be talking to Harden and totally ignore the ceremony going on. Afterwards, he’ll just talk about Fashion Week.
Brendan: If Westbrook really wanted to make an impression he would stand and clap, one of those fake bored I have to clap- where you know he is lying.
Julian Billick: I don’t think Durant is going to win the MVP. I don’t think Durant is going to have the toughness to be on the same team with a guy who hates him and then prosper. I think Durant is a sensitive guy that is trying to suppress. Curry will feed him to make him part of the game but Westbrook is not breaking him off anything.
Best All-Star Divorce, Kobe-Dwight or Russ-KD?
Julian: Kobe-Dwight. Dwight was mocking Kobe in the locker room, not to his face because he is too scared to do it but behind his back. They were teammates, not separated. It was one of those War of the Roses marriage.
Mallory: There is so much we just don’t know. We don’t know how it is going to be on the court and on the bench and in the locker room. My best guess from what we know of them [Russ and KD] and their careers is it is going to be icy but not straight on war.
C.J.: Kobe. He will make your life miserable if you are on his s**t list.
Brendan: Dwight just wants to make people laugh so he brings the drama down a notch when he’s not pouting which totally puts Kobe’s antics over the top. In this, Durant sulks and Westbrook goes all fury. Kobe wasn’t spiteful on the court. He’d pass to Dwight. He would include him. But I don’t see Russ doing that at all.
Who is more likeable, Westbrook or Durant?
Mallory: Westbrook for sure. He wears his heart on his sleeve. You know exactly what he is thinking. He has a Kobe passion thing going and he plays every play like tomorrow his career is going to be over. He’s not too cool for school. Durant had a learning curve in Oakland and even though he is having one of the best years of his career he is the one who filed for this divorce and ran.
Brendan: Westbrook. He is made for the social media age. He doesn’t care what people think and he delivers on his personality. He isn’t afraid. Durant has negative vibes, like leave me the f____ alone.
Julian: It doesn’t matter who is more likeable. The NBA has had a bunch of cats that everyone hated and they became champions. But who would I want to go to the club with? Westbrook.
C.J.: Durant creates this sub-culture of dislike not because he left Westbrook but because he left him and cut him off. It’s like when you breakup with someone via text. It’s shady. It wouldn’t have mattered if Durant had a history of being a jerk but he didn’t. He was considered one of the nicest guys in the league. It shocked people how he treated Westbrook, like he wants to be a villain.
Most All-Star Points?
Mallory: Durant. He may even get the MVP.
C.J. Durant. But if he wins the MVP it will be’ oh whatever’. If Westbrook wins the MVP it will ‘oh my God’. Proportionality in the media is sorely lacking.
Brendan: Durant’s game is made for All-Star MVP. He can drain threes in bunches and easily have a game winner. Russ will break off some Westbrook driving to the rim plays, that’s for sure, but I don’t see him even trying for the MVP and you have to want to get it. Plus the players will try to set up Anthony Davis to get it.
Five years from now are we still talking about this?
Brendan: Yes and no. We will be talking about how Durant messed up a relationship that didn’t have to be this bitter. But he will have won a couple of titles. Westbrook will still be scrapping if he is in OKC. My bet is he leaves.
Julian: No. Harden can mend fences. Time changes everything but for that to happen both have to win a title. Shaq and Kobe made up after Kobe won post-Shaq. It is hard to see Westbrook winning with Victor Oladipo as the second best player.
C.J.: Loyalty and sports don’t mix. Players want to win. Organizations have bad luck. The window is short. Losing drains you. I understand why Durant left. I don’t understand why he burned his bridge. Sadly, I think this is permanent.
Mallory: I think LeBron proved and Kobe-Shaq proved, no relationship is over. You go through stages. This is what it looks like now. When both players mature, they will find their way back. There is a lot of basketball left in their careers and a lot of years left in their lives.
photo via llananba