Russell Westbrook happy to learn he likely wasn't last pick in All-Star draft
From NBA media reports
Oklahoma City Thunder guard and reigning Kia MVP winner Russell Westbrook has always found motivation in slights, whether they are real or perceived. He thought he had some fresh fuel in that department last night after the All-Star Game rosters were revealed for the squads LeBron James and Stephen Curry picked.
Although no one knows the exact order of who was picked when, Westbrook’s former teammate, Kevin Durant, believes he was the No. 1 overall pick by Team LeBron. There’s also talk that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo went No. 2 overall to Team Stephen. Westbrook saw his name on Team LeBron and based on the fact he appeared last where he saw it, he thought that was the pick he went as.
After last night’s OKC win against the Washington Wizards — a game in which Westbrook scored a season-high 46 points — the Thunder star explained how he thought he was slighted. But as Royce Young of ESPN.com points out, a chat with the media helped him understand he likely wasn’t the final pick overall:
Asked his thoughts about being selected by James, Westbrook started with a standard answer.
“That’s cool, man, that’s good, man, they finally got the teams figured out,” he said. Then from his nearby locker, Carmelo Anthony yelled out, “Tell ’em how you really feel!”
Westbrook smiled and laughed.
“But I see I was the last pick on the list — I was just trying to figure out how …” Westbrook said, referring to a list tweeted out by James.
Informed it was just in alphabetical order, an incredulous Westbrook yelled back at Anthony, “See, I told you, man! Alphabetical order, man! Of course I was first!” Westbrook walked away laughing, continuing on with Anthony, “Of course! What you talking about?”
“It was just alphabetical, it was alphabetical,” Paul George said with a subtle grin. “LeBron loves Russ, so I doubt he’d pick Russ last.”
After Friday’s shootaround, James said he had heard about Westbrook’s postgame comments and reached out to the Thunder guard … while also giving him a bit of a hard time about his perceived “snub.” Dave McMenamin from ESPN.com has more:
“I heard from Russ,” James said after the Cavs’ shootaround Friday morning. “I reached out to him afterwards. like, ‘What’s wrong with you, man?’ We’ve got a good relationship, so it’s pretty cool.”
James wouldn’t verify the order at the top of the draft, but poked fun at how Westbrook thought the bottom of the draft went.
“I don’t know,” James said. “The only thing I know for sure is that Russ went last. … He’s crazy.”
* * *