Remember when a player who recorded a triple-double automatically gets player of the game honors and an ice bath in the locker room? We don’t either. Achieving trip-doubles has been normalized and can be done by almost any player nowadays that we feel it’s not so special anymore.
Westbrook normalized triple-doubles
Russell Westbrook can be credited in paving the way for more players getting a triple-double. When Oscar Robertson averaged double digits in points, rebounds, and assists for the whole season, everyone thought the record would be untouchable. The feat almost stood for 50 years until Brodie tied the record in 2017 and broke it four years later. Westbrook became the only player in NBA history to record a triple-double for a whole season more than once. Russ is also the record-holder for most trip-doubles in the NBA, with 189 total. Here’s what the Big O had to say after his record got broken.
Russell’s tenacity on the floor and leadership made him achieve the feat. It inspired other combo guards to get more rebounds or assists to help the team more. However, he normalized it to the point that fans have become desensitized to triple-doubles now. Any random player can get a trip-double, and it will only be considered a good game, not a great one. Getting double digits on points, rebounds, and assists against NBA-caliber teams is not easy, but Westbrook made it look easy that it lost a bit of the majestic and glamour.
How Westbrook destroyed triple-doubles
Triple-doubles are not spectacular anymore, and Westbrook has a lot to do with it. There were even instances where he seemed to grab rebounds from his teammates to fill in the quota.
In their Christmas game against the Brooklyn Nets, Westbrook had 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. His win-loss record when he gets a trip-double is 136-45. On regular days, it meant the Lakers got the W. However, L.A. Lakers lost against Brooklyn. Stan Van Gundy may have thrown a shade at Brodie in his tweet.
“In the NBA, achieving a “triple-double” does not mean a player played well.”
Westbrook got a triple-double, but he also recorded a -23 on the floor. He shot terribly from the close range, making only 4-15 attempts in the shaded area. Brodie also had three turnovers. For a rim attacker and point guard, missing from close range and turning the ball over many times are unacceptable for title-aspiring Lakers. There were rumors that Russ could find his way out of the team soon as L.A. plans to include him in trade talks, per Basketball News.
Westbrook needs to reflect on his game because clearly, what worked before is not working now.