Now a year-and-a-half removed from his MVP, Westbrook is still putting up extraordinary numbers while once again averaging a triple double. Russell Westbrook is a superhuman athlete that has produced some phenomenal results. For the third straight year, he is now averaging a triple double for the season. In the 2016-2017 season in which we mon his MVP, he averaged an absurd 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists for the season.
Prior to that season, nobody else had averaged a triple double for the entire season other than Oscar Robertson all the way back in the 1961-1962 season. Russell smashed a 55 year-old record, putting himself in truly elite company.
After that, Westbrook averaged 25.4/10.1/10.3 last season with the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Definitely a step down from the previous season, but to be expected with the added firepower. A step down for Westbrook, but still elite numbers by anyone’s standards, and definitely good for another triple double average for the second straight season.
This season is still underway, but heading into the all-star break, Westbrook is once again posting crazy numbers. This season, Melo was traded to the Rockets, and Paul George has been having an MVP calibre season. That hasn’t stopped Westbrook from putting up 21.7/11.2/11.2. Just nuts!
Russell has struggled this season with his shooting (at a 41.7% clip so far), but has managed to compensate with great defense, and a deferral to Paul George’s uprise. While Westbrook is 30 now and his game may be on the decline, it doesn’t seem to stop him from getting triple doubles, and through those many wins for his Thunder team.
Addition by Subtraction?
When I heard Carmelo Anthony and Paul George were going to the Thunder a few years ago, I was over the moon. Melo is my favorite player, and Westbrook and George were some of the most exciting, talented players in the league. I thought it would be a great season, and a chance for Melo to redeem himself.
Now a few years removed from the situation, it’s become clear to see that having Carmelo Anthony on the team hurt the Thunder. It wasn’t necessarily a case that his play was causing his team to lose, but rather the relaxed mindset he brought with him was infectious. Melo being the oldest of the three, his mindset was an example for the other two. Because of that, the Thunder absolutely struggled and underperformed.
This year, Anthony played just a few games for the Rockets before they decided to part ways. Again, Melo’s play hasn’t been truly terrible, but it may be another case of his approach to the game being detrimental. Melo has always been a skilled player, but the case can be made that he wasn’t the most motivated or hardest working player.
Whatever the issue seemed to be, Westbrook and George are now locked-in and trying harder than ever. Rather than being brought down, the two build each other up, and undoubtedly make each other better. George is now having the best season of his career, and Westbrook is quietly being excellent and supporting George all the way. It can be easy to notice how well PG13 is doing, but a lot of that is a product of Westbrook’s selflessness and maturity this season.