Russell Westbrook Just Did Something No One Has Ever Done
The NBA fans in awe of Russell Westbrook for his triple-doubles and those who wish he could be more efficient were able to come together Wednesday night.
Russell Westbrook (6-6 on FG & 6-6 on FT) is 1st player in NBA history w/ a triple-double while perfect from floor & line (via @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/LZhUV9FWem
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 23, 2017
Westbrook scored 18 points, made all 6 of his field goal attempts and was 6 for 6 from the free throw line. He also added 14 assists and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes, completing a triple-double in three quarters or less for the 13th time this season.
Aside from being the first player to record a triple-double without missing a field goal or free throw, he also became the fourth player since 1984 to combine his triple-double with a perfect night from the field (excluding free throws).
Westbrook’s performance on Wednesday also stood out for its stark contrast to how he usually plays. His six field goal attempts marked a season-low, nearly halving the previous mark (11). It was the second time in his career he played at least 20 minutes but took so few shots.
It was also his first game of the season without attempting a three-pointer, and Russ took just two shots away from the rim.
According to numberFire Live, Westbrook only used 20.1% of the Thunder’s possessions, another season low, per Basketball-Reference. Westbrook had finished 31% of his team’s possessions in all but one game this season, and he is on pace to set the single-season record for usage rate.
Westbrook came into the night with a 41.9% usage rate and could be the first player in league history to finish the season above 40% (Kobe Bryant currently owns the record after using 38.7% of the Lakers’ possessions during the 2005-06 season).
While a low-usage, high-efficiency Westbrook was certainly a change of pace and led to a historic night, it might not be a version Oklahoma City wants to see a lot of. Part of what makes him such a special player is that he is able to maintain a certain level of efficiency despite historically high volume.
Westbrook is currently the 20th player to post a usage rate of 35% or higher in a season, and his offensive rating is tied for 8th in that group. Also, while it is easy to knock his 54.6% true shooting percentage (it is below the league average of 55.2%, after all), it is worth considering that his teammates had a combined 54.0% true shooting percentage before Wednesday.
He is an MVP frontrunner for a reason, and Wednesday was another eye-popping night in a season full of them.