As the season winds down and the Thunder make their push for the playoffs, we’re sitting here wondering: What does Russell Westbrook have to do in order to average a triple-double for the season?
We know he needs 125 rebounds and 151 assists in his next 16 games. That’s a given, but will he reach there? According to Kevin Pelton at ESPN Insiders, Westbrook has a 70 percent shot at scoring the elusive goal.
As we know and assume, Westbrook’s toughest goal will be getting the assist goal. When his teammates aren’t making shots, it’s tough for him to hit that goal of 10 assists per game.
Right now, he’s on pace for 40 triple-doubles, as he has 32 through 66 games. A game short of where the pace should be. Oklahoma City is a cool 26-6 when the MVP front runner schools a triple-double on his opponents. Oklahoma City is a saltry 11-23 when he doesn’t. So, so much for stat padding.
Games against Brooklyn, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Orlando, Phoenix, Minnesota and Denver (twice) could be the best bets for Westbrook. He’s scored a triple-double against every team this season already. That’s eight with one remaining.
He has a career four triple-doubles vs. Houston already; including one this season. Memphis is another target. That would be Westbrook at 10. That would be a bit far fetched and it’s a bit far fetched, still, to say that Westbrook could exceed Robertson’s record. Though, we have to at least talk about the ability of Westbrook to do 10 triple-doubles in 16 games.
It’s also something we should address: If Westbrook is suspended for a game, his chances of tying Robertson’s 41 triple-doubles goes down by a wide margin. However, his ability to average a triple-double would probably sky rocket, due to less boards/assists needed to get there.
On April 2, look for Charlotte at home for Westbrook to aim for a triple-double. Though he says he doesn’t look for it, the Hornets are one of two teams (Chicago) who’ve stopped Westbrook in pursuit of a triple-double. He came awfully close the first time around, scoring only two assists shy.
If Westbrook stays on pace, we could see him tie Oscar Robertson on the last game of the season, which would be at home vs. Denver. To do that in front of a sold out Chesapeake Energy Arena, with a potential playoff battle on the line. Westbrook would show a nuclear performance maybe for the ages.
Worst case scenario, Westbrook finishes with 36 triple-doubles. Best case, Westbrook triple-doubles against all eight teams we mentioned above and ties or breaks Robertson’s 55-year old record on Wednesday, April 12.