Russell Westbrook is back in the news, and among other headlines, is the talk of the NBA right now. He’s put up some historic individual stats that’ll be etched into the Wizards’ history books.
That specific historical stat line is Washington’s triple-double record. It only took Westbrook 38 games in Washington to set the franchise record in total triple-doubles. The magic number is now 16.
But, as far as Westbrook’s success has gone over the years, it’s always met with questions.
Now, analysts all over the country are wondering if he’s even a winner. Among other questions, this is the one that’s most in focus right now.
Is He a Stat Padder?
There are a lot of people that believe that Russell Westbrook is a stat padder. Why couldn’t he be?
He leaves OKC to go to Houston, and it’s hard for him to get stats there because he’s playing alongside James Harden. So, of course, after one season, he goes to a new team where he can start padding again. It makes perfect sense.
Actually, that’s not true, and Westbrook is not a stat padder. As a matter of fact, accusing any NBA player of padding stats for personal gain is outrageous.
Since his rookie season in 2008-09, up until the conference finals in 2016 against Golden State, Russell Westbrook had 43 career triple-doubles. That’s over an eight-year span.
Everyone knows what happened in the following season. Kevin Durant joined the Warriors, sending Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder organization hitting the high road.
Then, the following season, Westbrook sets the NBA record 42 triple-doubles in 82 games. A record that will never be broken again. What’s crazy to imagine is it took all that, just for the Thunder to get the six-seed in the playoffs.
Ever since that season, Russell Westbrook has learned how to do the things necessary to get triple-doubles. That’s just a part of his game now.
Westbrook is a Leader
Russell Westbrook has been a leader his entire career. But what blossomed him into that role was after Kevin Durant left OKC.
KD’s departure from the Thunder made Westbrook a different animal. After that, he made his teammates better.
Since his historic, 42 triple-double season in OKC, he elevated some of his teammates. Carmelo Anthony, who had been scrutinized for seasons by all kinds of people associated with the NBA, returned to the league to play with Westbrook. In that season, Anthony averaged over 16 points per game.
Not to mention, Steven Adams’ points per game average in 2017-18 was up by three points since the last season.
So, to prove the point, Westbrook elevates his teammates success.
Even Bradley Beal said in an interview earlier this season “he’s the best teammate I’ve ever had, and in terms of leadership, probably one of the best leaders I’ve been around.
Hard to argue the stats when the leagues leading scorer admits it himself.
Is Westbrook a True Winner?
Westbrook, over the course of his career, has been a winner. He has the stats and records to prove it.
He’s been to the playoffs 10 times, including an NBA Finals. He’s only been a part of one losing team (his rookie season).
However, it may be time to come to a realization. Westbrook might be a regular season winner. Having gone to an NBA Finals once, his resumé is too good to have not gone more.
It’s unfortunate to admit, but this may be the truth.
Until he gets that elusive title that he desperately needs, he may go down as one of this generations greatest superstars to never win a title.
All stats were taken from ESPN.com and basketballreference.com.
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