Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook said he senses an immediate difference on both ends of the court with Nazr Mohammed in the starting lineup, even though the former Charlotte center has had limited exposure to his new teammates.
“He's a vet. He knows the game,” Westbrook said of Mohammed, who is in his 13th season. “He knows his spots on the floor and he does a good job of picking his spots. … All we expect are good things from him.”
Asked if having more of an inside presence might hinder his ability to run the team, Westbrook said, “Not at all. I'll still be able to do what I can do, get them more shots and guys will be more open.”
With Mohammed and Serge Ibaka available as defensive anchors, Westbrook admitted there could be more opportunities for steals.
“I'm definitely going to gamble a little more, but you can't do it too much,” Westbrook said. “Nazr and Serge can only protect so much.”
The Thunder is Mohammed's seventh NBA team, which had Thunder coach Scott Brooks joking that his new acquisition might inadvertently run a play from a previous franchise.
“Russell did a good job of communicating with Nazr,” Brooks said. “He didn't know everything that we were doing, but he was pretty solid. I told him, ‘When in doubt, set a screen in a way for one of our shooters.' He's smart enough to not look in a fog. I'm sure in his mind he was thinking of many different things and what call was just made, but he's a smart player. He figures it out.