What was perceived as a possibility has now become a reality.
Russell Westbrook, with his 50-point triple double performance that he capped off by nailing the game-winning three-pointer against the Denver Nuggets, solidified one of the greatest individual seasons in league history.
Not only did Westbrook become the second player in history to average a triple-double for an entire season, but he also broke Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple-doubles in one season at 42.
This means that in an 82 game schedule, Westbrook notched a triple-double in over half of the games he played in. To put this into perspective, it’s considered a feat for any player to record one triple double. If you notice, when it happens, it is often highlighted at the bottom of your tv screen when watching a game, it is often highlighted in the post game highlights, it is often the mark of overall excellence for any individual while on the basketball court.
For Westbrook, to be able to do this 42 times in one season is extraordinary and for this, he deserves all of the praise and accolades he is receiving.
Much of this praise does stem from the fact that due to Durant’s departure, much, if not all of the load was heaped onto the shoulders of Westbrook who’s decision to extend his time with the Thunder made him the unparalleled hero of Oklahoma City and the person in whom they looked to continue the success that the team had been garnering the past five years.
For Westbrook, who is never one to shy away from that kind of spotlight, he used it as all the motivation he needed to embark on this historical journey.
Night after night, he dazzled crowds with his high-flying acrobatics, his tenacity on the boards, his penchant for setting his teammates up to score time after time, and yes even the turnovers that resulted from it all. He was the subject of much scrutiny because of the amount of responsibility that was given to him that caused the ball to have to be in his hands 90 percent of the time which opens the door for more opportunity for the ball to be turned over. Despite this criticism, it hailed in comparison to the overall allure that surrounded Westbrook throughout the year, especially within this last week, as he approached the record and securing this historical year. Home and away fans alike packed the arenas for their chance to witness history every night and now that it had happened, it is a refreshing take away from what has been a historic NBA regular season within itself.
With averages of 32 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists while also playing in less than 40 minutes per game, Westbrook’s feat is something that should continue to be celebrated, not only because of the numbers, but because of the impact that it had on his team and the league.
For this currently constructed Thunder team to be in the sixth spot in a tough Western Conference is a direct result of the impact of Westbrook’s play and how much of the team’s heart and everything involved lies within the body of the 6’3 guard who has essentially defied all odds in modern basketball.
For my money, he secured his case for the MVP this year and although Harden has been right on his heels in terms of production, with everything involved, nobody has made the impact that Russ has this season.
Let’s celebrate him.
Did you think Westbrook would average a triple double this year? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.