On Monday, Russell Westbrook had himself a triple double for the ages. 14 points, 21 rebounds, and 24 assist. The only guys in NBA history with a triple double with 20+ rebounds and 20+ assist are Wilt Chamberlain and Russell Westbrook, who has now done it twice.
But since Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City in the summer of 2016, Russell Westbrook has become less and less efficient as time goes on. Since Russell Westbrook has started averaging triple doubles, his per game stats like assist and rebounds have gone up, his shooting percentages have gotten worse and worse by year.
In 2017 when he won league MVP, he averaged 31.6 points (league leader), 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game, while shooting 42.5% from the field, 34.3 3P%, and 84.5 FT%. When the playoffs came around, he was dropping CRAZY averages: 37.4 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and 10.8 APG. But once again, his shooting averages dropped, and they dropped dramatically: 38.8 FG%, 26.5% and 80% from the line while taking just over 30 shots per game. So ask yourself, did he win league MVP because he averaged a triple double and shocked the world by his dazzling numbers, or did the NBA make him the superhero because KD left OKC for Golden State and essentially became the villain of the NBA?
Since then, in 16 playoff games, he’s averaged just under a triple double, 29.8 points, 10.9 rebounds and 9.5 assists. But once again, the efficiency numbers just are not there. Taking 26.5 shots per game on 38.4 FG%, 7.8 threes shot per game on 31.2%, with 82.4 FT% and over 5 turnovers per game.
As the seasons in OKC went on, the triple doubles continued to pile up, but the shooting percentages continued to drop, along with his PER (player efficiency rating). From the 2016-17 season until now, he has been a below average shooter across the board, outside of his free throw shooting in 2016-17. Shooting under 70% from the free throw twice, and shooting under 30% from three from 2017-2020, he is just not a good, efficient scorer.
I’ve seen Russell Westbrook assist hunt and not put in any effort on defense instead, he’ll opt to hang around the paint and wait for the offense to shoot the ball and grab the rebound, adding to his stats. His brand of basketball (stat padding, 100 MPH motor all the time) may win you a lot of regular season games, but when it comes to the playoffs, he does not play a winning brand of basketball. To the people that say “he’s 135-34 when he has a triple double”, of course he has a winning record. He’s always been on an upper level team, with guys like James Harden, Victor Oladipo, Paul George and currently, Bradley Beal. They will always win more games than not.
Russell Westbrook will go down as one of the most enjoyable players to watch ever. High motor, energy and attacking mindset will gain you some fans. Unfortunately, his inefficiencies in his game will always hold him back, and I cannot see him winning a title in his career as the main guy.