Russell Westbrook continues to stack his case to be named Most Valuable Player of the NBA for the 2016-2017 season, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to argue otherwise.
Westbrook recorded his 41st triple-double of the season on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. It was appropriate to tie the record against the Bucks too, because the record was previously set by former Bucks star Oscar Robertson over 50 years ago.
Westbrook only put up 12 points in the 110-79 victory for Oklahoma City, but he added 13 assists and 13 rebounds for the all-around effort. Naturally, the crowd serenaded him with some MVP chants.
Russell Westbrook SMILLLLINNN pic.twitter.com/DuJxUkFwCI
— Spark Sports (@Spark_Sports_) April 5, 2017
This was the seventh-straight triple-double for Westbrook, which is an amazing feat itself.
— NBA (@NBA) April 5, 2017
“I just play, man, honestly. It definitely wasn’t a goal, just going out and trying to win,” Westbrook told reporters after the game. “Leadership to me was more important than averaging points or field goal percentage or whatever, because I think that’s what gets us the farthest and helps us win a championship.”
Westbrook has more than handled taking on more of a lead role in Oklahoma City. Following the departure of Kevin Durant to Golden State, the Thunder have been the Westbrook show, and the ratings have been very good.
Robertson became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season in 1961-62, the same year he put together 41 triple-doubles. For decades — DECADES — nobody else in the league could manage to pull off the incredible feat. Think about all of the great players who have come and gone or are still playing today, and then let it sink in that none of them managed to match Robertson’s effort. Now, Westbrook has a chance to surpass that.
With five games left in the regular season, Westbrook is inching closer and closer to a season-long triple-double average as well. He now needs just 16 assists to clinch that season-long average. That is very likely to happen, and it could happen in just one game. He has recorded 16 assists in a game seven times this season. The next four games for Oklahoma City are on the road before closing out the regular season at home on April 12.