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June 1, 2016

Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Q. What did it mean to you to see this team make so many strides throughout the season and peak at the right time of year and see guys step up in big moments?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I thought it was great. I think earlier in the year, I think we maybe started 7-6 or something like that, and I think at that point we kind of made a decision that we was going to stick with the plan and stick with the changes and try to find a way to get better throughout the season. I think even after the All-Star break we started off 8-11, 8-12, something like that, and we made another decision to be able to stick with the plan, and I think all the guys did a great job of just sticking with the process and never flinching on what we had planned for ourselves. I thought it was great.

Q. Do you plan to chat with Kevin about his free agency at any point?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: No, not now. I mean, I plan to just enjoy our break, plan to just enjoy this time to decompress and just have some time to chill.

Q. You've never really had an unknown with one of these major guys going into free agency. Are there any nerves or anxiousness from your side of things?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Nerves from -- no, not nerves. I mean, Kevin is a guy that obviously myself and another guy we want back here at the Oklahoma City Thunder, but at the same time he has to make a decision that's best for him and what best fits him, but Kevin, like I said, has always been like a brother to me, so regardless of what happens, we're always going to be friends, and everything is going to work out.

Q. You guys obviously have something special, but the way you played the month of May, beating the Spurs, taking the Warriors to the limit with a bunch of young guys, you and Kevin are now the old guys, do you like the future if Kevin stays?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I like it, definitely. I think we have a great team, a lot of guys that can contribute in a lot of different ways as you've seen, a lot of guys that improved over the season, not just starting in the Playoffs, but gotten better mentally, and I think that's the main part, not just physically but mentally gotten better and made us a better team.

Q. How did you connect with Billy throughout the season? Any rocky moments?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: No, I think we just tried to find ways to figure each other out and learn each other's personalities, and me try to find the best way to make it easier to coach me and trying to find ways to listen. I was all ears and Billy was great just kind of listening to some of the things I had to say, and he was great at kind of relaying it to the team and making us a better team.

Q. You said find better ways to coach you. What do you mean by that?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Just kind of find ways to make it easier. I try to find ways to tell him, explain to him what some of the guys may like to do on our team or some of the guys, what their tendencies were before he got here or different things that I may know about the guys that he may not know about them or their personalities, and that kind of helps him coach guys, whatever, the way he may feel.

Q. What did you think of the offensive adjustments?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I thought he was great. I thought he did an amazing job just coming in and finding ways to best fit everybody, all the tools we had. He did a great job of just being open, and he came in with a great attitude, and it definitely shows.

Q. Was there one particular area that you think that the team needs to improve upon heading into next season?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I think just mental toughness. I think we've gotten very, very well at that point, but I think to make the next step, we have to constantly do that throughout the whole season, not just late in the Playoffs because I thought we turned the page when it got to this time of year, but I think if we constantly keep that from start to finish, it makes it easier for us in certain situations.

Q. With you guys still looking for that championship, how much does that eat at you that you haven't got one? How much does it fuel you to keep trying to get one?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: It's just something obviously as a player and as a competitor you want to win a championship every year, but it's not as easy as you may think, and I think every year you've got to find ways to -- the best way to kind of win it. It's a process, it's an everyday process, not just jump right to the Playoffs, into The Finals. It's a process, as you've seen. We know that, so we've just got to take the process and try to find ways to get it done.

Q. When you guys look at what you need roster-wise, improvement-wise, whether it's different players or guys on your team getting better, what do you see that you need on this roster?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I think we're good. I think we've got what we need. I think we put ourselves in position. We showed that we have the tools to win games at a high level, beat the best teams and do what we need to do, so that I'm not worried about.

Q. Talk about going against Curry for seven games straight.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Going against Golden State was good, man. They had a good team. I think they obviously -- they made it to The Finals so they're a great team. I think they do a great job of making us do different things, especially as a team, and they play small, so it changes it up a little bit. But I thought they were the better team, and they beat us.

Q. You're facing kind of a high-profile free agency kind of like Kevin did this year coming up next year. Talk about how he handled it and kind of the spectacle of that; did that teach you how to do anything next year?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: No, I don't think that far ahead, man. Right now I'm just worried about the summertime and enjoying my time off.

Q. Is there one particular area that you thought you improved the most?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Me? Yeah, I think just communicating with my team, finding ways to lead the guys. For me I think that's the most important part of just being able to find ways to lead, and at the same time still improve on my game and what I'm doing, and I think I did a better job of that throughout the season.

Q. Your three-point shooting was kind of under the microscope all season, around 30 percent. Do you feel like that has to be a part of your game going forward?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: No, it don't have to. I've just got to shoot better ones. I don't think it has to be a part of my game. I think for me, three-point shooting doesn't change much of what I do because scoring is not just what I do. I'm not really worried about it.

Q. You've talked about trying to cut down maybe the bad ones at times. How hard is that for you, especially if there's clock situations or other things to try to contain --
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: There's a lot of things that goes into it, especially when the shot clock is going down and I have the ball. I have to put a shot up. But all that to me, that's why I don't worry about it, because it doesn't really affect at least how we play or my game. Numbers and all that stuff doesn't bother me much because what I do on the court doesn't matter about three-point shooting. Not really one of my worries.

Q. When you get into double digits, assists per game this year, and then in the Playoffs it even went up, how high can that go when you've been -- you've sort of been raising it most years. How high?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I don't know, man. I don't know. It's funny, though. The question is how high can it go. Before it was our passing, now it's how high can it go. That's funny, man. I don't know, I just play to win. That's it.

Q. You're passing too much now?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I don't know, man. Maybe passing too much. I've got to see. Maybe I can average 20 assists or something. I don't know.

Q. Where do you feel like you guys learn things that you can apply towards the team from the Golden State series experience?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Just mentally I think, like I said -- physically obviously we're 3-1 and find ways to win games at a high level, but I think just the mental toughness, especially playing in a hostile environment like their place and finding ways to kind of get over the hump through thick and thin throughout the game, and I think that's our biggest step.

Q. How long will Game 6 linger, the fact that you guys had that lead, almost closed them out?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I mean, linger? It won't linger. I think that was -- the game is over. Just got to find ways to get back to this next year, find ways to improve, not just from that game but from the overall season.

Q. How good can Steven Adams become do you think?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Oh, very good, man. Obviously he's improved over the course of the season, and this year he made a huge jump, just defensively and just him communicating and him being a lot more mature than last year, and you seen it this postseason. I think he can be one of the best centers, especially offensively. I mean, he has a lot of different tools to his game that this year he wasn't able to show as much, but I think he's a special player.

Q. Same thing with Andre; he seemed to really blossom in the Playoffs. Individually and as a team what did this playoff run do in your mind for how good you can be together?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I mean, it gives guys some sense of confidence. I think guys know obviously what it takes to get to a certain level, but they also know what it took for themselves, what they had to sacrifice, what they had to do to kind of get better and better each and every day to prepare themselves obviously for a playoff game, and I think it helped a lot of those guys out, especially the ones that never played the Playoffs, Enes, Dion, guys like that, helped them out to make them better, as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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