There are no misconceptions about Steven Adams as a teammate — everybody loves the guy. However, the same can’t be said about Russell Westbrook. That’s why Adams – his former teammate with the Thunder – decided to end the false narrative about the 32-year-old star.
He’s great. He was awesome. He reminds me of my older brother — they’re intense, and they say a lot of things, but you kinda like sift through all that and see what they’re saying. It doesn’t really matter how intense they say it, as long as the message is getting across. It’s not for everyone either. Not everyone can respond to that sort of intensity.Steven Adams, The Old Man and The Three
Westbrook’s personality on the court leads everyone to believe he’s the same guy off the court. But as Adams explained, Russell as a player and Russell as a human are two different people.
Off the court, solid dude. Awesome, really, really cool. And then on the court, obviously he’s bloody passionate, or whatever you want to call it – intense, angry, psycho – whatever you got.Steven Adams, The Old Man and The Three
In terms of his leadership style, Adams praised Westbrook’s ability to hold himself and everyone involved accountable. Russ does it through uncompromising leadership, taking responsibility as the team’s No.1 option, not letting anyone else intervene with his decisions. It’s what a superstar is supposed to do, and Steven loved being in such an environment.
The biggest thing I like that not many people understand is that he will make a decision, and that’s actually pretty crucial. Say for any sort of scheme that you have, some people say it and are kinda like on the fence; they won’t come out and fully like, ‘No, no, no, we’re doing this.’ That was the biggest thing that I liked about Russ. He’ll make a decision where no one would have the guts to say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing instead.’ So everyone’s on the same page, no problems.Steven Adams, The Old Man and The Three
This perhaps led to the breakup of Russ and Kevin Durant. Artificially imposed balance is good until there’s a player who transcends it. KD was, without a doubt, that type of player, and being forced to do things Russ’s way didn’t sit well with him. Combined with how difficult it was for him to play with The Brodie, we can only assume it must’ve played a part in KD’s move to Golden State.
That’s why Westbrook has to be an Alpha on the team. It’s also why the best bet for any team with Russ on it is to surround him with low maintenance, no ego guys, such as Steven Adams. It probably won’t be enough for him to lead the organization to a championship, especially in this stage of his career. But everyone will surely be on the same page, ready to get behind Westbrook. At least the ones who can respond to his intensity levels.