You are currently viewing Russell Westbrook is NBA history: beat Oscar Robertson’s ‘unattainable’ triple-doubles record

At 32, the Wizards star reached 182 triple-doubles during his career, surpassing a legendary mark.

Westbrook, during the Wizards’ final game.Casey SykesAFP

Russell Westbrook is the new leader in triple-doubles in NBA history, breaking the record held by the legendary Oscar Robertson for 47 years and long considered unattainable.

The Wizards star reached 182 triple-doubles during his career in Monday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks (125-124).

At 32, he still has a few seasons ahead of him to fatten his brand in this complicated statistic, which in recent years is ceasing to be a rarity due to the versatility of figures like Westbrook himself. LeBron James o Luka Doncic.

A triple double is achieved when a player combines in the same match double digits in three categories, which are usually points, rebounds and assists, but can also be steals or blocks.

Westbrook has been able to put together some amazing combinations, like a triple double sovercoming 20 rebounds and 20 assists against Indiana a week ago, a mark previously achieved only by Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 and Westbrook himself in 2019.

A fierce competitor and physically gifted, the point guard has imposed such an iron regularity on the statistics that already is assured of finishing the season with a triple-double average for the fourth time in the last five years.

Robertson is the only other player to have ever achieved a triple-double season, 59 years ago.

“You love him or you don’t love him”

Marked by some for prioritizing his personal stats, Westbrook shows extraordinary effort and physical display every time he takes to the track.

“He goes with energy on the rebound in the middle of the pvots, dispute all the balls, he usually crosses the court avoiding players at full speed … They are almost 30 meters from basket to basket and this effort is often repeated “, describes the former French player and coach Jacques Monclar.

“He is an exceptional athlete but he also needs to be free. He does not like to share and the number of triple doubles also comes from there,” said Monclar, current NBA analyst for BeIn Sports.

Despite his 13-year NBA experience, Westbrook’s game continues to suffer from a certain rush, leading the league in turnovers this year with 4.9 per game. “Yes, he is capable of ruining a game. Either you love him or you don’t love him, but he is still a unique player,” emphasizes Monclar.

This year, Westbrook’s style is being the key for the modest Wizards to occupy one of the places that qualify to play the ‘play in’ (repechage for playoffs) in the Eastern Conference.

In the last 20 games, in which the point guard has added 17 triple doubles, the Wizards have reaped 15 victories that have propelled them to the ‘play in’.

“I hope he receives the recognition he deserves. It is really enormous what he is doing,” said the mythical Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson to those who minimize the impact of Westbrook numbers on their teams.

“It is really enormous what he is doing,” added ‘Magic’, which occupies the third position in the triple doubles classification with 138, in statements to the digital media The Athletic.

In his long spell with the Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-2019) and the short one with the Houston Rockets (2019-2020), Westbrook failed to reach the NBA ring. In 2012 he had it close but lost to the Thunder in the Finals against LeBron’s Miami Heat.

“I don’t care what they think, but the fact that they think it’s unnecessary strikes me as funny,” Westbrook responded to his critics. “It wasn’t useless when Robertson and ‘Magic’ did it. When it’s me, they say it seems easy, but it’s not that easy to do.”

Another NBA

Changes in the pace, style of play and in the preparation of basketball players have led to a large increase in triple doubles in recent years.

Surpassing the hundred for the fifth consecutive year, this season there have been 134 triple doubles by 28 players so far.

“The game, being faster, means there are more possessions. The triple double is achieved with the rhythm. The defenses (now) are a bit lax and that also helps the statistics,” Monclar described.

“We pigeonhole players less into one role. Like Westbrook, LeBron James is also the embodiment of this versatility,” as are many Europeans like Nikola Jokic, he notes.

“Lastly,” Monclar concludes, “I don’t think there have ever been as many strong players as there are in the NBA right now. The overall level is quite incredible.”

And despite this competition, Westbrook has 36 triple-doubles this season, well above his closest competitor, Jokic (15), the big favorite for the MVP award.

“I’m sure if everyone could do it, everyone would,” said the new historical leader of the category.


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