We haven’t watched ESPN2 shouting program First Take around here in a while because [projectile vomits], but apparently one thing resident troll-shouter Skip Bayless has been harping on lately is that Russell Westbrook is taking too many shots for the Thunder (we remember him doing some of this when we last watched the show regularly, dating back to last season).
Not surprisingly, the Thunder (who, for what it’s worth, currently sport one of the NBA’s best records at 40-13, so one would imagine they have a decent idea of what works for them) seem to disagree with this. And so Kevin Durant, when asked his opinion on Bayless‘ opinion that he needs to take the most shots on the team, had this to say:
“That guy doesn’t know a thing about basketball … I don’t think he watches us. I think he just looks at the stats.”
The best thing about this comment is actually that it’s not quite on the mark: as post author Darnell Mayberry notes, if Bayless is looking at the stats, he’s apparently ignoring them – going into last night’s game, the Thunder were 20-4 when Westbrook took more shots than Durant. (Overall, they’ve shot the ball nearly the same number of times.) He should give the stats a look. But our favorite thing Durant had to say on the subject of Skip was:
“Skip Bayless, he’s just a funny character, man.”
Perfect. This is actually one of the best things we’ve ever seen anyone say about Bayless, and it’s legitimately an example we could all stand to follow. Bayless trolls to make people angry. When we get angry, his tactics work, and more people watch. If we look at him as a troll – or “just a funny character,” whichever one prefers – we stop caring, and therefore stop watching/writing about his show. In one sentence, Durant summed up the best possible way to defang Bayless, and really, any such shouter: just say to yourself, “That’s a funny character, that one.”
Of course, there’s one person who could especially help the cause if he follows Kevin Durant’s example: Kevin Durant. The NewsOK post detailing his remarks about Bayless also mentions that Durant’s considered appearing on First Take himself to respond to Bayless’ criticism of Westbrook.
Sticking up for his point guard? Totally fine. Giving First Take exactly what it wants, which he would by appearing on the program? That’s an issue. He’s just a funny character, Kevin. Resist the trolling. Resist. And remember: you’ve got the numbers on your side. Remember that stat about the Thunder being 20-4 when Westbrook takes more shots? Well, last night they played the Grizzlies. Durant took 20 shots. Westbrook only took 16. And the Thunder lost, 94-88.
[h/t Richard Deitsch]