Russell Westbrook is on the verge of completing one of the most legendary seasons in NBA history, as he is about to finish the year averaging a triple-double in scoring, rebounds and assists. This feat has only been completed one time in the league’s history, when Oscar Robertson did it in 1964.
Clearly, this is an extraordinary task, which some of the best players in the history of the game have never achieved. In Michael Jordan’s historic career, he never averaged even a double-double.
When Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists in 1964, teams were scoring 119 points per game. In the 2015-16 season, the average was 102.7 points per game. Westbrook is currently averaging more points per game than Robertson as well, with 31.9 and is just below him on rebounds and assists with more games to play.
In the 1963-64 season, Robertson’s Celtics were averaged 125 possessions per game. So far in the 2016 season, Westbrook’s Thunder have averaged 102 possessions, meaning less opportunities.
Much of the reason for Westbrook’s legendary season coming this year was the departure of Kevin Durant to the Warriors, putting Westbrook in the leading role for the first time. However, even with Durant on the roster, Westbrook came 2.2 rebounds per game short of the same feat last season.
A criticism of Westbrook’s career has been that he is a selfish player. Many have said that he was holding Durant back from getting a championship. This season is only more of an example of his need for stats over wins.
Westbrook has been known for his aggressive play and need for putting points on the board. But he also clearly has a hunger to win. His competitive nature makes him the explosive player he is, and suitable for the season he has had.
Westbrook has been on a mission night in and night out. His ferociousness on the court makes him one of the beasts of the NBA, and one of the top candidates for MVP. Although the Thunder are currently sitting in the sixth seed of the Western Conference, they would not be nearly where they are without Westbrook. On an average team, he has led the Thunder to being in games that they would not otherwise be competitive in, and has gotten his teammates involved with his 10.4 assists.
Basketball fans alike should all recognize the incredible degree of basketball, and unmatched enthusiasm for the game that Westbrook has brought this season. As possibly the best season in the history of the NBA, Westbrook has been must-watch TV. Whether you dislike him for his boisterous personality, or the way he handled Durant leaving the Thunder, Westbrook is putting on a show, one that everyone should admire.
Keith Egan is a visual and sound media and journalism major from Tinton Falls, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.