Victor Oladipo explains how he and Russell Westbrook have extremely similar competitive mindsets'
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Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo had some major praise for Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook and his competitive mindset.

Westbrook, who is known to play extremely hard, was teammates with Oladipo on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook’s best seasons came with Oklahoma City, as he won a league MVP award and had three consecutive seasons in which he averaged triple-doubles.

Oladipo believes he and Westbrook have similar competitive mindsets.

“He doesn’t care,” Oladipo said of Westbrook. “And when I say he doesn’t care, I don’t mean disrespectfully. He just going at, he’s going at — he’s in constant competition mode. He’s going at you. He doesn’t – he’ll come 10,000 times. He’ll come once — it don’t work, he coming again.”

Even though Westbrook and Oladipo only played together during the 2016-17 season, it’s clear the Heat guard has a ton of respect for his former teammate.

“It’s not something where it’s just, ‘Oh, it didn’t work the first time, so I’m a little discouraged.’ Nah, he coming every time, every time coming,” Oladipo said.

“And in my mind, I’m like, ‘I got that same gear. I can keep coming. I don’t have to stop.’”

Last season, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc for the Lakers. It certainly wasn’t one of the nine-time All-Star’s best seasons, and he’s looking to improve in a big way this season.

As for Oladipo, he’s also hoping to have a big season and stay healthy in the process. He has failed to play more than 36 games in any season since the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign. He has bounced around the league in recent years, but Miami is certainly happy to have him.

In limited regular season action during the 2021-22 campaign, the two-time All-Star averaged 12.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.

The Heat are hoping that Oladipo can regain his All-Star form this season, and it’s possible that channeling Westbrook’s mentality will help him get there. There’s no doubt that the Lakers guard has respect around the league for how hard he plays every game.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.