Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is threatening to become the first NBA player to average a triple-double since Cincinnati Royals Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson achieved the double-figure points, assists and rebounds mark during the 1961-62 NBA season. A lot has changed in the league since then, which is why Westbrook’s current averages of 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.3 rebounds would make such a feat a remarkable achievement in line with some of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history. If not the greatest individual season in NBA history.
As Westbrook takes on each new opponent while the OKC season drawls on, we’ll be updating his chances at matching the Big O’s feat.
Entering Wednesday night’s home contest against the Washington Wizards, Russell will need four rebounds in order to sustain his triple-double average. He will need 12 points in order to stay above 30 points per game, and six assists to maintain his average of over 11 dimes per game.
The Wizards contest presents yet another fascinating storyline for the 11-8 Thunder, as the contest will mark the first appearance in Oklahoma City by ex-Thunder coach Scott Brooks. Brooks, who had never led a team as head coach before, ran the club from 2009 through 2014-15, piling up a sterling 338-207 record as Thunder coach while leading the team to the 2012 NBA Finals.
Despite winning 62 percent of his games as head coach in OKC, Brooks’ teams were criticized for what appeared to outsiders as a rudimentary offense, and his prime seasons as coach (from 2012-13 through his final campaign) were marred by crippling injuries to Westbrook, ex-Thunder star Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.
Brooks was hired by the Wizards prior to 2016-17 and has struggled with his new team despite playoff expectations, as Washington will enter the contest at 6-10 despite a home-heavy schedule thus far.
In his first return to the arena he appeared in charge of for seven seasons, Brooks isn’t expecting an overwrought reception. From Brett Dawson at the Oklahoman.
“That’s a little ambitious if I’m thinking they’re gonna give me an ovation,” Brooks told a group of reporters, adding later that he was “hoping” for a warm response.
“There’s no hard feelings.”
“We had a great run,” said Brooks, who sat out last season before taking the Wizards job. “Unfortunately it ended for me, but that’s the business we’re in. I have a lot of respect for the organization. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the players that I coached.”
The line runs both ways. Remember, Brooks is the guy who kicked point man Earl Watson – a coach’s dream and eventual NBA head coach – out of the starting lineup a month into Westbrook’s rookie year in order to move the former UCLA hybrid guard into the realm of expectation. From Royce Young at ESPN:
“Scotty’s my guy,” Westbrook said Tuesday. “He gave me a real shot to be able to do some of the things [I do] and make mistakes and he always had my back in that situation. Especially when I first got here. He was always the one who had my back through those times, and he’s obviously a good coach as well.”
Westbrook averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game in 32.5 minutes a night during his rookie year back in 2008-09. He’s looking to double those marks in 2016-17. [/restrict]