Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook secured another triple-double on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first player to record two in the first three games since a former Lakers point guard did so in 1982-83, Magic Johnson.
Coming off his triple-double against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, it took Westbrook only 24 minutes to reach the mark on Sunday night. He had 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, when he secured it, with more than an entire quarter still to play. On Wednesday’s opening night, he came up just one assist short of having recorded three straight triple-doubles to begin the season.
Upon the departure of former teammate Kevin Durant in free agency to the Golden State Warriors over the summer, many suggested that Westbrook would have an outside chance at averaging a triple-double for the season, a near statistical impossibility which has not been accomplished since 1961-62 when Oscar Robertson recorded the only season in history for the Cincinnati Royals.
Last season, Westbrook reached career-highs in rebounds (7.8) and assists (10.4), but saw his scoring take a dip, after leading the league in 2014-15 when Durant missed the majority of the year due to a broken foot. He continued that dominance into the Playoffs last year, when he averaged 26 points and 11 assists in the 18 games he would play in.
There’s little doubt that the Thunder will need Westbrook to dominate in order to not only make the Playoffs, but to make a deep run. At the very least, he’ll represent the best chance any player has had at averaging a triple-double for the entire season since Robertson himself.