As the lone act, Russell Westbrook is the NBA’s biggest triple threat
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is the basketball playing combination of Marshawn Lynch and Mike Trout.
Yet may have the statistics of Oscar Roberson by the end of the season.
“I don’t have any words to describe it,” Thunder center Enes Kanter said. “[English] is my second language. I don’t think there is any word that describes his play. He’s just doing an amazing job. I say this about him every time, he’s not just making himself better, but he’s making everybody else better around him. That is what a really special player does. He’s not just worried about his stats, he’s worried about everybody’s stats and making sure that we are winning the game. He’s an unbelievable player, not just on the court, but off the court too. He’s a funny guy, a good locker room guy. He has just been amazing.”
He may have said he doesn’t have any words to describe Westbrook’s play but at least he tried. Amazing. Special. Unbelievable. It’s only fitting that he found three words to describe Westbrook.
Another three words for Westbrook would be points, rebounds and assists. He has more triple-doubles than the rest of the league combined and is currently averaging a triple-double with 31 points, 11.3 assists and 10.9 rebounds per game.
When Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, everyone thought it would mean the full unlocking of Westbrook’s potential. That potential is being demonstrated right before our eyes.
Westbrook has six straight triple-doubles and eight in the last 10 games. He has 11 total triple-doubles so far this season and the Thunder have only lost two of those games.
As precious as the stats are, it means nothing to Westbrook. The pursuit of triple-doubles or a certain number of points does not interest him. This a guy who admittedly does not see the point in the pregame film session and prefers to act on instinct on the court and let Billy Donovan’s system to impose its will on the opponent.
As great as that mindset may sound to the fan base, the Thunder need Westbrook triple-doubles more than ever.
“I think the worst thing you can do is take him for granted,” Donovan said. “I would never want to sit there as a coach and ever take anything for granted that he or any of our guys do because I know hard they work and how much effort they put into it. I think for him, I would say this, he’s creating a norm for himself, and I think in creating that norm what you don’t want to do is take it for granted. I think it really speaks to how many ways he impacts the game of basketball.”
His 31 points per game is a career high. The second highest total is 28.1 in 2014-15, when Durant was out due to a foot injury. Westbrook has recorded plenty of triple-doubles last season with Durant but these last 22 games have proven that this type of Westbrook performance isn’t possible with Durant or a budding star around.
Whether Westbrook can carry his team to a deep playoff run is unknown but he can for sure make the journey entertaining.