Since Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook entered the NBA in 2008, he has been nothing short of pure excitement. Westbrook has been front and center for the Thunder’s ascent in the Western Conference, while he has become one of the NBA’s best players. At 6’3″, 200 lbs., Westbrook is one of the fastest players in the NBA and he is also fearless. It’s nothing for Westbrook to drive to the lane while also mixing it up with the big men in the paint. Westbrook is a six-time NBA All-Star and following the departure of small forward Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City last summer to join the Golden State Warriors, you expected Westbrook to have a special season; just not as spectacular as it has been.
This season I expected Westbrook to lead the NBA scoring in scoring as he would now be the focal point of the Thunder’s offense, but he has done it in the fashion of making history. Westbrook is on the verge of becoming the first NBA player since Hall of Fame point guard Oscar Robertson in 1962 to average a triple-double for an entire season. On the campaign Westbrook is averaging 31.8 points (which leads the NBA), 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. Westbrook has already tied Roberston’s single season record of 41 triple-doubles in a season, and he just missed setting the new mark as he had 45 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds this past Wednesday night in a 103-100 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Westbrook will have another opportunity to get his 42nd triple-double tonight when the Thunder face the Phoenix Suns. With Westbrook leading the way the Thunder are heading to the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight years and regardless of what happens in the postseason, he should be ready collect some individual hardware.
Being that Westbrook has done something which hasn’t been accomplished in more than 50 years, he is the odds-on favorite to become the NBA’s MVP. On 18 occasions Westbrook has scored at least 40 points this season which included going for 58 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 7. From February 26-March 3, Westbrook had four consecutive games in which he scored at 41 points. Westbrook has 10 contests in which he has gotten at least 15 assists which was highlighted by him going for 22 assists versus the Suns on December 17. And the other caveat is that 32 times this season Westbrook has tallied at least 12 rebounds in a game which included him grabbing 18 boards on two separate occasions which is why he’ll be a shoe-in to be the NBA’s MVP.
Westbrook has made the impossible possible as he has done what many people thought would never be done again which is to average triple-double for an entire season. Since Robertson pulled it off in 1962, the NBA has seen a plethora of great point guards such as Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, and John Stockton. But whereas these men had other talented players to shoulder the load, Westbrook is doing this without a talented squad around him as he needs to do what he is doing in order for Oklahoma City to win basketball games. This season the Thunder are 31-10 when Westbrook records a triple-double as he has been a one-man wrecking crew and thus head coach Billy Donovan has given him the green light to turn it loose.
With the NBA Playoffs right around the corner, I don’t expect Westbrook to slow down his production even though that the deck will be stacked against him as far as Oklahoma City being able to make a deep run in the Western Conference Playoffs due to the fact that they’ll have to go through the likes of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets.
I knew that Westbrook would be locked in this season as he was out to emerge from the shadow of Durant in Oklahoma City. And since the folks in Oklahoma City weren’t thrilled at how Durant left along with the team that he joined, it has led them to embrace Westbrook more than ever; especially since he signed an extension to remain there.
Averaging a triple-double for an entire season in the NBA is the equivalent to hitting for the triple-crown in Major League Baseball, rushing for 2,000 yards in a season in the National Football League, and scoring 75 goals in one campaign in the National Hockey League. Occurrences such as these don’t come down the pike that often and thus they should be put onto a pedestal. And regardless of what Westbrook is able to do for the remainder of his NBA career, his name will forever live on in the history of the league.