Sliding scoring and playmaking assistance - comparing Westbrook's three triple-double seasons

By Tom Webber 12 April 2019 158
Sliding scoring and playmaking assistance - comparing Westbrook's three triple-double seasons

Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook made history by becoming the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for three successive seasons.

Electrifying guard Westbrook was named MVP after becoming just the second player to achieve the feat two seasons ago, emulating Oscar Robertson's feat from 1961-62.

There has been no let-up from the eight-time All-Star since then, with another staggering campaign for the Thunder seeing records continue to fall.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the numbers behind each of Westbrook's triple-double seasons to see how they compare.

 

TRIPLE-DOUBLES GALORE

The 2016-17 season saw Westbrook reach double figures in three facets in the same campaign a record 42 times, once doing so without a single missed shot or free throw – a first in NBA history.

His tally of 34 this season - which included a record-breaking run of 11 in succession - is an improvement on the 25 he completed in 2017-18 and came despite playing seven games fewer.

Westbrook joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to reach at least 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a single match during a 119-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in April and by signing off the regular season with a triple-double against the Milwaukee Bucks he joined Magic Johnson on 138 for the second-most of all time. He still trails Robertson's tally of 181.

 

SCORING SLIDING DOWN

Along with averaging a triple-double in 2016-17, Westbrook led the NBA in scoring with 31.6 points per game and accounted for 29.3 per cent of the total points scored by the Thunder.

The addition of Paul George to the roster ahead of the following campaign provided OKC with another reliable scorer, decreasing their dependency on the Olympic gold medallist.

It is therefore unsurprising that Westbrook's points-per-game average decreased to 25.4 in 2017-18 and 22.9 this season, which is only 17.8 per cent of the Thunder's overall tally.

Westbrook averaged the fewest field-goal (20.3) and free-throw (6.3) attempts of any of his triple-double seasons this term but has made his best contribution in terms of steals (2.0) and blocks (0.5).

 

ASSISTANCE ON ASSISTS

Westbrook led the league with an average of 10.3 assists per game in 2017-18 – just 0.1 less than he managed the season prior.

He was top of the charts in that respect again this term with an improved average of 10.7, with Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors his nearest rival on 8.7.

While his average assists has increased, Westbrook is seemingly receiving greater playmaking support from his Thunder team-mates.

After providing close to half (48.8 per cent) of Oklahoma City's dimes in 2016-17, his share for this season was down to 40.9 per cent – though that is still the largest portion of any player in the top 10 for assists per game in 2018-19.

 

CRASHING THE BOARDS

This season was also Westbrook's best for rebounds per game. After dropping from 10.7 in 2016-17 to 10.1 the following year, he surged up to 11.1 this season for a new career high.

However, that accounts for 20.5 per cent of the total boards grabbed by the Thunder this term, a lower number than he achieved in 2016-17 (22.6 per cent) and 2017-18 (21.8 per cent).

Of the 11.1 rebounds Westbrook averaged this term, 9.6 came on the defensive end – the most of any of his triple-double seasons. An average of 1.5 offensive boards this season is his lowest return since the 2013-14 campaign.

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Tom Webber

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