Russell Westbrook’s athleticism is the dynamic art piece to his game.
Thanks to that incredible ability, Westbrook’s name has become a norm when discussing triple-doubles in the NBA. Almost too much to the point now where it’s hiding in plain sight to the public.
Looking at his stat sheet on the year, Westbrook can’t shoot the ball well. Westbrook started the season off slow, but still dominated in the Oklahoma City Thunders’ success. He’s averaging 21.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game.
Here’s the kicker. He’s shooting 23.9 percent from the three-point line, who ranks dead last in that category from players who take four or more threes per game, a career-low 64 percent from the free throw line, and still averaging a triple-double. It’s hard to average a triple-double when your shooting isn’t quite the best, especially in the league nowadays.
However, Westbrook leads the league in assists at 10.7 per game with a 43.2 assist percentage. Westbrook is good at finding the man to pass the ball to when the opportunity is open. It doesn’t necessarily mean he will pass it and that’s his first priority, but he tends to create that space for his teammates enough to lead the league in assists.
His handle gets him by defenders, like Marco Bellineli, that get him those clear passes.
A big factor to his triple-double success is his hustle. His hustle is over the limit because his aggressiveness and passion to win shows when he is diving for loose balls or fighting for that extra possession.
All. The. Time. pic.twitter.com/9BmnytDCVH
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 18, 2019
In addition, Westbrook is ranked 13th in the league for rebounds per game, which is No 1 amongst all guards. Westbrook is explosive with his rebounds and that’s why he’s able to grab so many from the rim. The help also comes from his defensive awareness which guides him to where the ball is going to go after the shot.
Speaking of the defensive end, Westbrook leads the league in steals per game with 2.6. His teammate, Paul George, sits right behind him at 2.3 steals per game. His defense is another aspect to his game that makes him elite because of his quickness and defensive IQ.
A lot of Westbrook’s triple-doubles are in disguise because all the other excitement going on in the league. James Harden has been electrifying playing MVP basketball and currently on his 18th consecutive game with 30+ points. The Golden State Warriors had drama throughout the season with their ups and downs, but are back on track in the No. 1 seed in the West with their newly prized possession, DeMarcus Cousins, finally making his debut Friday as a Warrior. The young, praised Boston Celtics have experienced somewhat of a downfall since the beginning of the season with a frustrated Kyrie Irving.
If the Thunder have a legitimate chance of making it to the NBA Finals this season, Westbrook has to continue to use his athleticism to get triple-doubles and win games. We could be witnessing Westbrook’s third consecutive season averaging a triple-double without most fans even realizing it.