Russell Westbrook was asked if he's noticed a difference in how he's perceived since the departure of Kevin Durant. When the two played together, Westbrook was often blamed for some of their shortcomings.

“A little bit,” Westbrook told The Vertical. “But at the same time, I’ve got to keep the same way, because I’ve been on the other side. I’m definitely appreciative of all the support and I’m definitely thankful for that, and every night I just go out and play the same way.”

Westbrook was asked if he ever felt like responding to the criticism.

“The only time I felt like lashing out was with something that disrespected my family, or my mom, my dad. Anything of that nature. But for me, I can handle anything,” Westbrook told The Vertical. “Honestly, I stay even-keel throughout the good stuff, the bad stuff, because I always pay attention to my family and people that’s important to me. People I stand by. I like to have fun and enjoy the game and I just go out and play. Criticism for me goes in one ear and out the other.”

Westbrook has become a better leader recently.

“The most important part is always caring about how they’re feeling, how they’re doing, and how you can impact them and make them better,” Westbrook said. “I think a part of my job is being able to make my teammates better, but not just that, but make them feel confident in their game and how they’re doing.”