Russell Westbrook’s journey to a triple-double season

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

With only six games left to play in the NBA season, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has all but assured he will finish the 2016-17 season averaging a triple double — with double-digit totals in points, assists and rebounds. As of April 7, Westbrook was averaging 31.9 points per game, 10.4 assists per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Barring any unforeseen drop in form, Westbrook will be the first to accomplish this remarkable stat line since Oscar Robertson did it for the Cincinnati Royals during the 1961-62 season.

What is equally remarkable is how quickly Westbrook was able to increase his output. Westbrook began his career averaging only 15.3 points per game, yet with the departure of teammates James Harden (2012) and Kevin Durant (2016) allowed Westbrook to shoulder more of the scoring burden, increasing his points per game to 31.9.

Click for interactive graph.

Westbrook’s increasing playmaking ability to increase his assist output over the course of his career — he finally broke the double digit barrier during the 2015-16 season.

Click for interactive graph.

Perhaps the area of Westbrook’s game which saw the most growth was rebounding. The improvement of this final aspect of his game finally put Westbrook over the top in 2016 -17.

Click for interactive graph.

Russell Westbrook’s 2016-17 has been nothing short of remarkable. As the sole superstar on the team following Durant’s departure, he has upped his game to levels unseen in 50 years, the result of years of improvement.


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