Photo Credit: USA Today
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is averaging 34.7 minutes per game, an NBA-leading 31.4 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game, 10.4 assists per game, 0.4 blocks per game, and 1.6 steals per game so far this season. He is shooting 42.3% from the field, 33.4% from 3-point range, and 84.0% from the free throw line.
Westbrook is trying to do what just one NBA player before him has done in the entire history of the NBA, and he is currently on pace to do it. That amazing accomplishment is carrying a triple double average at the end of an NBA season. Only NBA legend Oscar Robertson has ever pulled that off.
Robertson holds the NBA record for triple doubles in an NBA season with 41 of them in the 1961-1962 season, a record that Westbrook may very well break, as he currently has 37 triple doubles this season with nine games to go. In the season during which Robertson tallied 41 triple doubles, he averaged 30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game, and 11.4 assists per game, which to this day is the only season by any player in NBA history that ended with that player’s final seasonal average being a triple double.
Westbrook still has nine games to go this season to attempt to join Robertson as the only two players to have pulled off this feat. While he is still on pace to join Robertson, he still has plenty of work left to do to get there. He has played in each of the Thunder’s (42-31) 73 games so far this season, and it appears as though he intends to play in all 82. To average 10.0+ in any statistic throughout an entire 82-game NBA season, 820 of that particular statistic are needed.
Westbrook has scored 2,294 points, collected 768 rebounds, and dished out 758 assists so far this season. Points are a sure thing, as there is no possibly way that he will fail to end the season with a non-double-digit points per game average. Rebounds and assists are another story. To get to 820 rebounds and 820 assists this season, Westbrook still has work to do.
Westbrook is 52 rebounds away from 820 and 62 assists away from 820 this season. Over the final nine-game span of this regular season, Westbrook will have to average 5.8 or more rebounds per game and 6.9 or more assists per game in order to lock up a triple double average for the season.
These 5.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game averages certainly do not seem unlikely over the next nine games for Westbrook, especially since he is currently averaging 10.5 rebounds per game and 10.4 assists per game. However, it is far from being a done deal, as it is still going to be a challenge for him to pull off.
Despite not being close to Westbrook’s current averages, these 5.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game averages are far from commonplace in the NBA. In fact, Westbrook is one of only four NBA players to be averaging over 5.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game, with the only other three players doing so being Houston Rockets’ shooting guard James Harden (8.0 rebounds and 11.4 assists), Cleveland Cavaliers’ small forward LeBron James (8.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists), and Golden State Warriors’ power forward Draymond Green (8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists).
Odds are that Russell Westbrook will pull off this incredible feat and join Oscar Robertson as the only two players in NBA history to finish an NBA season with a triple double average. However, nothing is guaranteed and Westbrook will still have to work hard for this accomplishment.