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Mr. Triple Double: Russell Westbrook and Oscar Robertson

Credit: jwillzedits

Credit: jwillzedits

After losing Kevin Durant last July to their rival team Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder organization were in complete disbelief, as were the entire NBA fan base and family. OKC fans were left questioning their dominance in the league, knowing they had just lost a top player in the league to an already stacked Warriors team. Questions were flaring around the NBA about whether the Thunder would now be looking to trade Russell Westbrook to start a rebuilding process. Those speculations didn't last long.

Just exactly one month after Durant's decision, Westbrook became the most loved individual throughout the entire state of Oklahoma as he signed a 3-year extension with the team. And as the season was approaching, everyone knew the Brodie would have plenty of demons to release from there on out, and he's backing that up with his historical season.

Comparisons between Westbrook and hall of fame guard Oscar Robertson have been a hot topic the past few seasons due to Westbrook's triple double posts. But this season, the talks are as hot as ever. With just 12 games left in the regular season, Russ is averaging a triple double. 31.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and 10.3 APG are inconceivable numbers to put up in this day and age, and he has a 95% chance to keep these stats. Meanwhile, in the unforgettable 1961-1962 season, the Big O averaged 30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 11.4 APG.

“Oscar was 6-5 and very strong, and liked to back you down,” Barnett said. “He was very deliberate, totally different than Westbrook, who tries to go by you and through you with speed and athleticism. Oscar was very different. Oscar would pass up an 18-footer — wide open, no one around — to wait for you to get on him and then move to a spot off the elbow, a 14-footer or 15-footer, with you hanging all over him.

“He wanted contact. He used to take his off hand and put it on my hip and thigh, and pull himself around and move you out of the way. He got away with it because he was Oscar Robertson.”

Many people put into question, which season is more impressive? To answer, they both are. However, Westbrook is doing something nobody thought could ever be done since Robertson did it over 50 years ago.

Back in the day when Oscar was playing, NBA teams were accountable for around 125 possessions per game, giving Oscar a little over 25 more chances to cash in his stats, while Westbrook is doing so with just under 100 possessions per game. The NBA today is also much bigger with size than it was back then. And with Westbrook reaching a height of 6'3" and ranking in the top 10 in rebounds this season is just unfathomable. Let's not forget this either: Westbrook started this season with just 37 career triple doubles. He is currently at 71 with 34 this season alone. To add to his résumé, Russ needs just 8 more triple doubles in his 12 games left this season to pass Wilt Chamberlain for 4th place in all-time career triple doubles, AND pass the Big O for the single season record for most triple-doubles in one season.

“I admire Westbrook for what he’s doing; he’s just playing outstanding basketball,” Robertson told USA TODAY Sports. “There’s a little comparison (between their special seasons), but not a lot. I think what he’s doing is outstanding, myself, especially with a team that’s been weakened since Kevin Durant left. That makes a big difference. So therefore, he’s taken it upon himself to try to do whatever he can to help his team to win.”

“When I was doing it, it wasn’t a highlight at all,” said Robertson, who averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists for a Cincinnati Royals team that finished the regular season with a record of 43-37. “I really didn’t know anything about it, nor did the NBA. I think that later on, when certain people started getting triple-doubles, (NBA officials) went back into the archives and got it. … The NBA was not sophisticated enough, and they just didn’t care that much about it.

“This is something that the NBA is pushing (now, and) I think it’s proper they push it, because this young man (Westbrook) is doing something that a lot of players who are around today are not doing. … I admire Westbrook for what he’s doing.”

As great as Robertson's 61-62 season was, these accolades should, in fact, give Westbrook the edge over whose season is more impressive. We're all witnessing history and a historical season that may never be witnessed ever again, so let's take a deep breath and give the Brodie the credit he so much deserves.


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