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Oscar Robertson defends Westbrook's legacy


After racking up another triple-double (29 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists) in the Wizards’ 135-134 loss to the Bucks on Wednesday night, Russell Westbrook is only three triple-doubles away from breaking Oscar Robertson's all-time record of 181. And Big O is rooting for him.

There’s no doubt about it. I hope he gets it.

Oscar Robertson, The New York Times

Nineteen of Westbrook's 179 career triple-doubles came in his last 23 games. Assuming the pattern continues, with six games to go, the 32-year-old superstar should break Big O's record by the end of the season. Once the 20/21 NBA regular season wraps up, Russ will average a triple-double for the fourth time in five years -- a feat he clinched in the Wizards' 154-141 win over the Pacers on Monday.

In '17, he became the first player to do it since the aforementioned Hall of Famer, prompting Roberson to congratulate him in person. Now, four years later, Russ continues etching his name in the NBA record books, reaching thresholds that may never be exceeded again. And although many describe it as stat-padding, Oscar himself is impressed by what Westbrook has been doing on the floor.

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I totally enjoy the way Westbrook plays. He’s a dynamic individual. They’ve moved him around to different teams, and I don’t know why because I think he’s one of the star guards in basketball. I guess they thought that when he went to Washington that he would not be that effective, but, man, he’s done a tremendous job.

Oscar Robertson, The New York Times

The Wizards (30-36) sit 10th in the West, 5 games behind the 6th seeded Heat and 3 games over the 11th seeded Raptors. The rest of their schedule includes a four-game road trip (Toronto, Indiana, Atlanta 2x) and two home games against the Cavaliers and the Hornets. Assuming they continue their hot streak (13-3 in the last 16 games), the Wizards should have no trouble securing the play-in spot.

That in and of itself won't be enough for the Westbrook critics to stop diminishing his numbers because they "don't translate to wins." Although Russ's teams are 134-45 (74.8 winning percentage) when he records a triple-double, the only thing that can validate his stats is winning an NBA championship. But that's not how Big O sees it.

I think he’s one of the elite guards in basketball, and I think it’s ridiculous that some sportswriters criticize him because he has not won a championship. Players don’t win championships by themselves. You’ve got to have good management. You need to get with the right group of players.

Oscar Robertson, The New York Times

Granted, Westbrook has been around elite NBA talent multiple times in his career. But he's never been able to take his team over the top. And you know what -- that's ok. Very few have that ability. But very few can do what Russ is doing. To quote Westbrook himself, 'this sh*t ain't easy.' So let's not take it for granted. Big O sure doesn't.

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