On May 10th, 2021, Russell Westbrook did something that we all knew was eventually going to happen: he broke the All-Time Triple-Double Record formerly held by Oscar Robertson. Robertson amassed 181 triple-doubles in his career, and against the Hawks, Westbrook had a stat line of 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 21 assists in securing his 182nd triple-double. If he retired after this season, chances are no one would be able to break this new record. However, he is still going strong, and by the time his career is over, chances are he will have amassed over 200 triple-doubles and have one of the most unbreakable records in NBA History.
Unfortunately for the Wizards, Bradley Beal would not play in Westbrook’s 182nd triple-double game, and Westbrook would miss a jumper at the buzzer that would have given the Wizards the win. The final score was 125-124, and while Beal was out for the rematch, he will return to rival Steph Curry for the scoring title.
At this point, the only thing that keeps Westbrook from being debated as one of the greatest point guards of all time is the fact that he has not won a championship. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double for four straight seasons! The first time he did it, in 2017, he was awarded the MVP. In 2018 and 2019 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he did the same thing, but since Paul George and Carmelo Anthony were on the team, we just got used to seeing him rack up the triple-doubles and forgot how historic it truly was.
Westbrook has amassed nine All-Star appearances, two All-Star Game MVP Awards, nine All-NBA appearances, an MVP, two scoring titles, and two assist titles. Look at this list of the ten greatest point guards of all time right here. This very subject was debated on First Take after Westbrook passed Robertson, and while he may not be top three or even top five, he is top ten at least, and one of the best point guards the game has ever seen. Westbrook is a much better point guard then Walt Frazier and Jason Kidd at the very least, but no one cares because of two reasons:
- People think he pads his stats (meaning he inflates them on purpose)
- He hasn’t won a championship
Not winning a championship isn’t Westbrook’s fault. The Oklahoma City Thunder were set to become a dynasty as they had Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Tyson Chandler (who they acquired in a trade, but he failed his physical and never came to the team). But, Oklahoma City made the unfortunate move of not re-signing Harden, and Durant left in free agency, leaving Westbrook to carry the team for his MVP year before Paul George came and gave him some help.
During that MVP season, Westbrook had arguably the best game of his career. Facing the Denver Nuggets, Westbrook would record his 42nd triple-double, the most in a single season (Oscar Robertson had 41). He capped off the night with 50 points and an incredible buzzer beater from nearly 35 feet.
We have made the discussion of Westbrook’s greatness a controversy at this point, which is a shame. Yes, he can’t shoot very well, misses some clutch shots here and there, and may inflate his stats a little bit. However, he will always play with heart, aggressiveness, and give you 100%. He’s one of the fastest players in the league, and one of the most athletic. If he won a championship in 2012 or 2016, we wouldn’t even be debating this subject. Westbrook is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, and we need to stop slandering him.
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