Russell Westbrook is one more big rebounding night away from becoming the first NBA player to average a triple double in two seasons.
Russell Westbrook is on the brink of becoming the first NBA player to average a triple double in two different seasons.
Westbrook enters Wednesday's season finale against the Grizzlies needing 16 rebounds to pull his season average up to 10, and give him the season-long triple double for the second consecutive season, as he already averages 25.6 points and 10.1 assists.
The reigning MVP needed 41 rebounds over the last three games of the season to hit the mark. After only getting seven rebounds in a win over the Rockets in Houston on Saturday, Westbrook collected 18 boards on Monday as the Thunder picked up a win over the Heat in Miami to clinch a playoff berth.
If Westbrook wants to hit the magic number of 16, he would benefit greatly if Memphis settles for a lot of threes. In Monday's game, eight of Westbrook's rebounds came on missed three-pointers (six defensive and two offensive) and another two rebounds came off missed free throws.
So far this season, Westbrook has reached 16 or more rebounds six times, with Monday's 18 being a season-high. Last season, Westbrook recorded at least 16 boards in eight games.
Some have accused Westbrook of stat-padding, claiming that his rebounding numbers are boosted because he "steals" rebounds from teammates and some teammates box out the opposition just to let Westbrook get the board. Westbrook however, looks at what he has been able to accomplish in a much different light.
(Warning: The video below contains explicit language)
For the year, Westbrook has 25 triple doubles, which is 17 fewer than he had the last season when he broke the record for most triple double in a season and matched Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple double for an entire season. Over the last two season, Westbrook is averaging 28.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists through 160 games entering Wednesday.
Robertson, for comparison, averaged 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists over the first five years (384 games) of his career. During that time, he averaged a triple double in his second season in 1961-62 and finished just seven rebounds shy of doing it a second time in 1963-64, when he posted 9.9 rebounds per game along with 31.4 points and 11 assists. Robertson also led the league in assists in four of those five seasons, and Westbrook will lead the league in assists for the first time in his career this season.