As one of the best statistical performers of the modern era, star guard Russell Westbrook is often at the receiving end of hate and criticism by the fans and media.
His amazing and well-rounded skill set has resulted in four triple-double seasons over the past five years -- an absolutely remarkable feat.
Because of the numbers, he puts up so frequently, he gets labeled as a "stat-padder (chaser)" by his naysayers, which is a term supposed to imply his pursuit of individual numbers somehow hinders his team's ability to win.
Speaking on the term, former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas explained why it's completely flawed:
"That s*it ain’t simple. Oh, he’s ‘stat chasing.' You mean he’s like actually physically going to get a rebound. You know if it was that easy, then motherfu*king every center would have 20 rebounds a game. This s*it is hard. It takes effort, and it takes energy. It takes all of that to try to go up there and grab 10 rebounds.
That's what I don't understand when they say 'stat chasing.' I don't understand it because it doesn't make sense, cause they're only using it for him. What was Magic Johnson doing with his assists? He has a fast-break layup, and then he throws sit to get the extra assist. What was Steve nash doing when he had 17 assists and he was trying to get to 22? He's stat-chasing those assists."
(start at 30:30)
Every NBA player can be accused of being a stat padder to some degree. Just because Westbrook is a better all-around player than others doesn't mean it should be held against him, and it doesn't mean he cares about the numbers more than winning.
With the passion and ferocity Westbrook players with, nobody can accuse him of not caring.
But the only real way for him to change the narrative about his career is to earn that elusive Championship. Until then, folks will continue to doubt his commitment to victory.