Russell Westbrook, by any measure, has had a historic year. He became the first player in 55 years to average a triple-double for an entire season – a feat most felt would never be duplicated – and led the Thunder to the playoffs even after Kevin Durant left in free agency.
That individual brilliance has made Westbrook the favorite to be the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, despite the Thunder falling short of the usual benchmarks that usually surround the award winner. It also has made Westbrook the window into how everyone thinks the sport should be played.
He’s become the NBA’s version of a Rorschach test.
Take Wednesday night’s game, for example. Westbrook finished with a staggering stat line: 51 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists – the highest-scoring triple-double in NBA playoff history – for the Thunder in Game 2 of their first round series against the Houston Rockets. But that wasn’t enough to lift the Thunder to victory, as the Rockets prevailed, 115-111, to take a two-games-to-none lead in their best-of-seven series, leading to this all-time quote from Westbrook when asked about the achievement after the game.
“I don’t give a f— about the line,” he said. “We lost.”
But herein lies the conundrum that comes with how one views Westbrook’s game. To achieve those numbers, Westbrook shot the ball a staggering 43 times – including 11 times from three-point range, along with 18 free throws – in 41 minutes. His usage rate (meaning the percentage of offensive possessions he was involved in) was a staggering 54.7 percent, and comes on the heels of averaging a record 41.7 percent during the regular season.
In other words: To put up the numbers he did Wednesday night, as well as this season, Westbrook turned the Thunder into the closest thing a basketball team can be to …read more
Source:: The Denver Post