Even though Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has been under intense criticism once again in the last week, several NBA players have come out in his favor. It was said that before the Lakers’ last preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Westbrook distanced himself from his teammates and then later joined a team huddle while they were being blown away.

The 33-year-old subsequently elaborated that he hadn’t been anywhere near the presentation of L.A.’s starting 5 due to his pregame ritual, which hasn’t altered in years. Even when the guard said he was “all in” on winning, the Lakers’ diehard fans still questioned his dedication.

Some current and past NBA players have come to Westbrook’s defense lately. These include Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers and Isaiah Thomas, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers. Kevin Durant, now of the Brooklyn Nets, is the latest one to defend his old colleague.

What Kevin Durant said about Russell Westbrook’s criticism

“I mean Russ always did [that pre-game routing]. It feels like he was just getting his mind right, just his own routine before the game. But if you play in L.A. next to the biggest figure in sports in LeBron James, everything you do is gonna be magnified, especially if the outside perception is that your team is gonna struggle. People don’t trust that your team is gonna be good”, Durant told Boardroom.

“That’s how they feel about us, the Lakers, teams that they had high hopes for last year that didn’t come through. The Lakers got a big microscope on them so you got to be on point every time. So if Russell misses a layup it’s gonna be blown out of proportion. If he misses a 3, he might be 5 for 7, but he missed those two shots, you know what I’m saying?”

“I understand that there’s certain points where you don’t play well and you are open to criticism when you don’t play well — we get that. But it’s like now you’re making him the butt of your jokes. It’s getting to a point where it’s like alright, I get the criticism for what he did that night, but now it’s starting to reach a different level with some shit that I don’t understand right now. So hopefully he just keeps hooping and blocks all that noise out and prove to everybody that they’re wrong about how they feel about his game and they mesh over there in L.A. But when we play them, I hope they play shitty, but I hope all that stuff works out because I hate how they talk. The dialogue around our game is just so toxic at this point. I get criticism, but it’s starting to turn into something else right now.”