By Adam Arms
Special to DT
Man, the Russell Westbrook haters sure have been silent this year. So many years, so much hate. But time and time and time again…Russ has shut them up by doing what he does best.
They said he couldn’t shoot, that he had limited potential. He’s the NBA’s leading scorer. They said he plays too fast, too aggressive, and too emotional. Yea, so? He’s Westbrook. They said he’s not a playmaker, that he’s too selfish. He averages ten assists per game and has become the most explosive playmaker of this generation. They said he’d never be elite. He’s averaging a triple-double (31.1 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 10.1 APG) and leading the race for MVP. Pretty sure that qualifies as elite.
What on Earth could be more fun than watching this man run the show in OKC? With the All-Star break upon us, it felt like a good time to sit back and reflect on some of the freakishly historic things Westbrook has accomplished this season. Enjoy the ride.
Westbrook’s 27 triple-doubles is the third-highest single-season total by any player in NBA history, behind only Wilt Chamberlain (31) and Oscar Robertson (41).
Russ is on pace to finish with 39 triple-doubles, but could easily pull ahead of pace if he rattles off a few in a row. Let’s not forget…he’s Westbrook. He strung together 7-consecutive triple-doubles earlier this season. If you want to bet against him doing that again, go ahead, but I’ll save my money.
Folks, this Westbrook-run has been complete insanity. Twenty-seven triple-doubles through 57 games is not supposed to happen. Let me put this in perspective. Michael Jordan is the undisputed greatest player of all time. Agree? He played 1,072 career games and had a total of 28 triple-doubles.
Does this really need any explanation? Statistically Westbrook is the most dominant player in the NBA and there’s no valid counter-argument to be presented.
Westbrook is the best rebounding point guard in the NBA by the most ridiculous of margins. In all likelihood he will go down as one of, if not the greatest rebounding point guards to ever play the game of basketball. Here’s a stat to remember – no player under 6-4 has averaged double-digit rebounds over an entire season in NBA history.
Russell Westbrook is 6-3 and averages 10.5 RPG. Lebron is 6-8 and has never averaged over 8.0 RPG in a season. Blake Griffin is 6-10 and can jump over cars, but averages just 8.8 RPG. What planet is this man from?
Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is one of those obscure stats that often goes unnoticed. In case you’re not entirely familiar, PER is a statistical conglomeration of nearly everything a player does during a basketball game. When a player does something positive (points, blocks, steals, assists, etc.) the value increases. When a player does something negative (missed shots, turnovers, fouls, etc.) the value decreases.
Long story short, it’s an objective way to mathematically measure the value of each player. Naturally, the best NBA players have the highest PER. And if that player happens to be a superstar, his PER will be well above average. It should come as no surprise that seven of the ten highest PER’s on record were either by Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain. It’s a tried and true system of determining the best player in the league. Safe to say it’s on point again this year.
At 31.1 points-per-game, Westbrook’s scoring average is unmatched by any point guard in the last ten years. Not only is he leading the NBA in scoring, but he’s the only player averaging 30+ ppg. He gets buckets. Many have come before him, but there’s been nobody like him. Decades from now can you imagine how many stories we’ll tell that begin with, “Do you remember that time when Westbrook…”
Cherish this man, Thunder fans.