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Russell Westbrook says he can learn ‘a lot' from Derek Fisher, ‘especially leadership'

DEREK FISHER — Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook is looking forward to what he can learn from the five-time NBA champion, including "leadership, especially for me; the way he carries himself as a professional."
By JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 22, 2012
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stbrook is one of the league’s most gifted – yet mercurial – players and at times struggles to properly channel his energy and passion.

Fisher thinks highly of Westbrook, and vice versa.

"Just unbelievably talented," Fisher said of the 23-year-old Westbrook. "The level of improvement from year to year, and what he’s been able to do to lead this team to the top of the Western Conference says a lot about his abilities. It’s never easy playing against him. Now, hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to practice against him every day.

"But being on the same team when the game starts, that’ll be a lot better for me. Hopefully it’s a lot better for him because we definitely need to be able to work together to lead this team. But this is going to be a group effort. It won’t just be my job, or Russell’s job, or Kevin (Durant’s) job. It’ll be every guy on that team really doing the best we can to maximize what we are."

As Fisher dressed at his locker for the first time, Westbrook playfully poked fun at him selecting jersey No. 37, which is Fisher’s age. Fisher shook his head and smiled.

"Derek’s a great guy, man," Westbrook said. "A great locker-room guy. He’s won a million championships and knows what it takes to win."

What can Westbrook learn from Fisher?

"A lot," Westbrook said. "Leadership, especially for me; the way he carries himself as a professional."

Collison said he believes Brooks has the right temperament to make the addition of Fisher a smooth transition. There are numerous times when players make suggestions to Brooks during practices and games.

"Coach is open to hearing anything," Collison said. "He’s not necessarily going to change anything unless he thinks it’s the right thing to do. I think he’s open to listen to anybody on our team. For the most part, we let coach do his job and follow directions."

Reserve center Nazr Mohammed said there is no hesitation on anyone’s part to share their thoughts with Brooks.

"Coach Brooks has an open-door, open-court policy if you have something to say," Mohammed said. "Me and him have had talks and you can bounce whatever you want off of him. That’s the great part about him, and that’s just not me. Reggie can go say, ’Hey, this is what I saw’ and coach would listen."


THUNDER RINGS

A look at Thunder and players who own NBA championship rings. The total nearly doubled Wednesday with the acquisition of guard Derek Fisher.

G Derek Fisher: 5 (Lakers 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)

GM Sam Presti: 3 (Spurs 2003, 2005, 2007)

Coach Scott Brooks: 1 (Rockets 1994)

C Kendrick Perkins: 1 (Celtics 2008)

C Nazr Mohammed: 1 (Spurs 2005)

Assistant coach Maurice Cheeks: 1 (Sixers 1983)

Assistant coach Brian Keefe: 1 (Spurs 2007)

Compiled by John Rohde

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