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Three takeaways from Russell Westbrook's exit interview

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Three quick takeaways from Russell Westbrook's exit interview:

Westbrook belief: Still unwavering

Westbrook had the worst mid-range shooting season of his career. His defense was better, but still inconsistent. Still, he feels no one can do what he does nightly, and expressed so in a question which started about what he can improve on personally next season:

"I always tell you that because I know I can do everything at a high level, so I always find ways to make sure that I'm able to do that," Westbrook said. "And that's one thing about me, is that -- and I think a lot of times, whether it's you guys or whoever it is, people across the world, when you do so much, you've got so much s--- you're doing throughout a game, whether it's defending, rebounding, passing. There used to be conversations if I was a ball hog, but now I lead the league in assists for the past three years or whatever it is, that's getting squashed out. So now the conversation is about shooting. Next year I'm going to become a better shooter. After that it'll be probably, f---, my left foot is bigger than my right one. Who knows. But to me that's why I know when you do so much with the game, got so much impact on the game, I expect a lot out of myself, put a lot of pressure on myself to become a very, very great player because I know that I'm able to do so much throughout a game to impact the game, impact winning. So that's why, back to your point, I don't really care what people say, what they think about me, because it doesn't really matter. I know what I'm able to do and know what I'm able to do at a high level every night, and nobody else can do what I can do on a night in, night out basis, and I truly believe that. If they could, I'm pretty sure they would. But I know for a fact that nobody can."

Westbrook isn't sweating losing the feud between himself and Damian Lillard.

... When asked how the last couple of days have been for him following the Thunder's loss in five games to Portland and Damian Lillard having the final word in the trash talk battle in the Thunder-Blazers series, Westbrook said not much has changed.


"If you want to determine my career and what I've done over two, three games, you go ahead," Westbrook said. "That don't mean s--- to me. It doesn't. I'm going to wake up, like I told you before, three beautiful kids, I'm going to wake up and smile, be happy, enjoy my life. Doesn't change anything about -- talk about if I'm playing bad or who's better, who's not. I know who I am as a person, and that's the biggest thing I can say about myself. I know who I am. I know what I'm able to do. I know my capabilities. I know what I've done. I know what I can and can't do. So I'm okay with that. I'm okay with who I am. I'll just be blessed to wake up every day and enjoy my life. The talk about -- I don't even know what talk you're talking about, but whatever that is, you guys can keep talking about it, and I'm going to keep living my life."

Westbrook's shooting ... will improve ...?

Westbrook and his shooting has been a hot topic throughout the season. He's coming off the worst shooting year of his career in terms of volume and field goal percentage.

While Westbrook acknowledged he can shoot from the right places, there seemed to be either a defiance or a wall put up when the topic was broached. For a majority of the rest of the exit interview, Westbrook was candid and open.

When asked what the process is when he's struggling from a particular area but teams are letting him shoot from that area, Westbrook's thought was "There's no process. Shoot it. That's it."

But Westbrook was also somewhat introspective on what shots he can concentrate on, specifically when asked about the 3-point shot.

"There can be emphasis," Westbrook said. "You guys can talk about it, but I'm just going to continue doing what I'm doing and obviously find a way to pick and shoot better ones. But that's up to me. That's it."

Bonus

Westbrook on his relationship with head coach Billy Donovan.


Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c7ecac358c92e8d33f464837bed1d9fa.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) takes the ball up court during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Erik Horne

Erik Horne is in his fourth season on the Thunder beat. Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013 following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The... Read more ›

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