Russell Westbrook’s pursuit of becoming the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season has him in the running for his first league MVP. The perennial All-Star notched his latest do-everything stat line Wednesday night, when he scored 57 points – the most by a player with a triple-double in NBA history – 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the Thunder’s thrilling overtime win.
Despite the eye-popping numbers, not everyone is on board with Westbrook getting MVP honors, especially with James Harden currently second in points per game and first in assists. Colin Cowherd debated Chris Broussard about why he thinks Westbrook’s triple-doubles are mostly style and little substance Thursday on “The Herd”.
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Doing damage against 'garbage-pile teams'
“Can I show you a stat? This is so definitive about Russell Westbrook. Nobody disputes that he’s great. I’m not arguing that, I get everything here.
"But my knock is if you look at what he’s doing it against, the teams that are .500 or better – and I’m not saying these are all the Warriors, these are just teams that aren’t crap. Against the teams that are .500 or better, he shoots 39 percent from the floor. He’s making a lot of his on garbage-pile teams.”
They've beaten good teams, though
“But hold on. They have beaten every elite team in the league at least once. They’ve beaten the Clippers twice. They’ve beaten Utah three times. … The other night he had the triple-double against Houston. They’ve beaten everybody but Golden State.”
“What do you do with this stat? He’s last in the league on guarding his three-point shooter. It’s called cherry-picking.”
Mark D. SmithMark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The triple-doubles have led to wins
“No, no. He’s going the other way to get the defensive rebound. … This is the thing: They’re 31-7 when he gets a triple-double. So if you show me if his teammates really aren’t going for rebounds, they’re just boxing out so he can get his stats, if he’s not guarding guys, you’re not going to be 31-7 if you’re playing cheap basketball.”
'Goosing' his numbers
“I think he’s the most athletic guy in the league. Like people think I don’t like John Wall. I’ve said to you 10 times, ‘Wall’s having a hell of a year.’ I’d put Wall in the MVP discussion. What I’m saying is they’re goosing him about three rebounds a night to get the triple-double. If the game was clean he’d go 31 [points], 10 [assists] and seven [rebounds].”