Can’t Stop Russ
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has been unbelievable on the basketball court since Feb. 1. His comrade, All-Star forward Kevin Durant went down with a foot injury that put the weight of the team on Westbrook’s shoulders for the past few weeks. With the spotlight shining, Westbrook proved to be ready and has played at a level that NBA fans have not seen in many years.
There are few players in NBA history that have performed at this level for over a month. Scoring a triple-double, which is posting 10 or more of three different statistical categories, used to be something very noteworthy. For Westbrook, this is becoming the expectation.
Since Feb 1, Westbrook has averaged 35 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists per game when Durant doesn’t play. He is averaging a triple-double over a months span. He had a spectacular three-game span of scoring over 40 points, with two of those games being a triple-double.
His 49-point, 15-rebound and 10-assist performance against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 4 culminates what has been an eye-opening stretch for such a talented player. I have always known that Westbrook’s athleticism is something special, but he has not gotten to be the superstar of the Thunder with Durant also on the court.
Golden State Warriors’ star guard Stephen Curry has received a majority of the Most Valuable Player discussion this season, but I believe that Westbrook has elevated to the top of the list at this point. Even though Curry’s team has a better record, we are talking about the Most Valuable Player, not team, which is why Westbrook is the most deserving right now. I am very interested to see what the Thunder do once Durant returns, and if Westbrook will be the main scorer for the rest of the season.
One criticism of Westbrook is that he is a selfish player and doesn’t make his teammates better. If he was scoring 50 points per game with zero assists that would be one thing, but his double-digit assist category game after game shows that he is at least trying to get his teammates involved more.
The Thunder currently has control of the eight seed in the Western Conference, fighting with the New Orleans Pelicans for the final playoff spot. They have won seven out of their last ten games and should get better as the team progresses. Once Durant comes back, watch out for this two-headed monster.