How Russell Westbrook Has Runied The Triple Double

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How Russell Westbrook Has Runied The Triple Double

 

I hate to say this, but Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double again this season illustrates how wildly overrated his MVP season was. Don’t get it twisted, I love Westbrook’s desire, competitive nature and putting everything on the line to win, but his achievement outlines how media driven his MVP season really was.

Averaging a triple-double was all we heard about, and the if he ended last season averaging 9.9 rebounds per game the award would have been given to James Harden. Looking back now, it’s as silly as it sounds, the NBA world and media were obsessed with that 10.0 figure in order for them to hand him the award. Yes, we are not ignoring the fact that he was excellent also, and carried mostly nobodies into the playoffs, but hindsight now provides us with a different perspective.

He’s already averaged a triple-double for a season so for the wider NBA general public the feeling of amazement is largely gone. He knew he needed 16 rebounds in this past season’s last regular season game, and you could bet your house on him doing everything in his power to grab those 16 rebounds.

The interesting thing is his name had not been mentioned in the MVP discussions and rightly so, yet still managed to average a triple-double for an entire season the same feat just 12 months later. It goes to show how the media can really shape an MVP race or single season by any superstar purely on how they report or drive a headline which gains momentum.

Before anyone says what they always say: “But when Westbrook gets a triple-double, they more often than not win the game” let’s really dissect this. His triple-doubles have not actually led to considerably more wins at all if you think about it. The Thunder finished 47-35 last season, and guess what, they’ve only had exactly one more win this season despite boasting one of the most talented rosters in the association. Not to mention winning was largely ignored with their seeding (6th) whilst it’s all of a sudden a factor now with James Harden winning the award over LeBron James and other candidates who have a lesser record.

It saddens me to say, but the nature in which Westbrook has achieved this feat has also been underwhelming for a lot of fans. There has been an ongoing discussion about him padding his rebounding stats and even footage to back it up, and although I don’t really have a problem with him chasing rebounds, sacrificing his defense in order to do so is the thing that doesn’t sit well with me.

In his MVP season, Westbrook was ranked dead last in the entire league among guards for defending the three-point line which was more evidence of his desire to grab boards, often at the expense of his big men. Again, I don’t hate that he was looking for those rebounds, but it’s something to consider when looking back on his MVP season and this season from an objective standpoint. It’s also a little disappointing considering how good he can be as an on-ball defender and he’s shown this, most recently against James Harden and the Houston Rockets when he lockdown Harden for the entire fourth quarter enabling the Thunder to pick up a massive victory.

Because of this, Westbrook has somewhat diminished the integrity of the triple-double.

Again, I love the way Westbrook goes about it and his heart is unmatched against most in the league, but looking back now, considering all things and the talent upgrade he had this season with basically the same results, Westbrook’s MVP season could go down as one of the more overrated ones in NBA history.

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