Skip Bayless. You may have heard the name once or twice. Kevin Durant certainly has. Bayless has always been out at the front and center of the anti-Russell Westbrook brigade, arguing that the Thunder and Durant will never ascend to their proper place in the NBA with Westbrook as the point guard. While we've certainly had plenty of fun discussing the Westbrook phenomenon, it has normally remained within the constraints of reasonable argument.
Bayless though, he's not a party to the well-reasoned argument. Rather, he's a carnival barker, a pro wrestling announcer, if you will. In Wrestlemania parlance, Bayless's job is to help generate crowd heat. He's the self-assigned heel. Perhaps it is all a big ruse simply designed to put his 'beloved' Thunder over the top, but because we're still living in this reality-based ESPN-ified terrain, we sometimes still get ticked off at Bayless and his anti-puffery.
Enter: Kevin Durant, who said he was waiting for someone to ask him about Skip's quasi-baleful rhetoric.
"That guy doesn’t know a thing about basketball."
With regards to Durant's play with Westbrook:
"We’re worse when I take more shots...Like I said, that guy doesn’t know a thing. I don’t think he watches us. I think he just looks at the stats. And traditionally, a point guard is not supposed to take more shots than everybody else on the team. But we’re better when he does do that and he’s aggressive. And I’m better when I’m out there facilitating, rebounding, defending and being more efficient on my shots with less shots."
"I’ll stick up for all my guys, especially against a guy that I have never seen at an NBA game before. It just starts to get sickening when you hear somebody talk about your teammate like that almost every day. So I’ll stick up for him every single day...Russell’s having a phenomenal season. I get upset when people kind of overlook that because of me needing more shots or stuff like that. He’s having the best point guard in the league type of year. We’re winning games and the other stuff doesn’t matter."
"Skip Bayless, he’s just a funny character, man."
"I don’t really have no thoughts...That’s his job. He’s supposed to do that. He finds somebody that he wants to talk about and that’s what he does. He (doesn’t) play so he don’t know. That’s how I look at it. I really don’t care."
I am reminded about a quote Nick Collison gave a while back, which sums it all up perfectly:
"People talk about it, it generates interest, ratings go up, the BRI goes up. All good."
Westbrook and Collison know that which Omar Little speaks: