Thunder's Russell Westbrook: Triple-double talk is 'getting on my nerves'
In the rest of the world's defense, it's hard not to talk about the OKC star's production
Russell Westbrook is sick of everybody talking about his triple-doubles. He has made it clear that he doesn't care about the historical significance, and while it's a blessing to be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain, all he's trying to do is win.
Ask Westbrook about his numbers after a blowout loss, expect him to be annoyed. That's exactly what happened following the Thunder's 109-89 road loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, in which he recorded 27 points, six rebounds and five assists.
"Honestly, man, people and this triple-double thing is kind of getting on my nerves, really," Westbrook said, via The Oklahoman's Brett Dawson. "People think if I don't get it, it's like a big thing. When I do get it, it's a thing. If y'all just let me play -- if I get it, I get it. If I don't, I don't care. It is what it is. I really don't care. For the hundredth time. I don't care. All I care about is winning, honestly. All the numbers shit don't mean nothing to me."
Westbrook is still averaging a triple-double -- 30.5 points, 10.6 assists and 10.5 rebounds -- but he would prefer that people stop speculating on whether or not that is sustainable.
"I don't know what's realistic," Westbrook said. "I just go out and play every night, man. That's it. I really don't care what people think is real or not."
Some thoughts on this:
- Triple-doubles are arbitrary. If Westbrook finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, is that more significant than the 27-6-5 line he put up on Wednesday? Of course not, but it would be more newsworthy, simply because of the meaning assigned to double digits in three categories. That's kind of silly.
- What Westbrook is doing is historic. If he averages a triple-double for a season, it should probably be seen as more impressive than what Robertson did because there were so many more possessions in NBA games back then. If he even comes close, it's remarkable. It's hard to argue that people shouldn't be interested in his season -- as well as the triple-doubles, he and Anthony Davis are leading the league in scoring, and Westbrook might carry his team to the playoffs.
- All NBA players get questions they are tired of answering. Sometimes they give rote responses, sometimes they give terse responses and occasionally, like Westbrook is doing, they directly say they don't want to address the subject. The reality is that they don't get to dictate what the public is interested in or what reporters ask. That's part of the gig.
- The people covering Oklahoma City are probably sick of asking him these questions, too. It's not like they want to get scolded. But again, people care about this. It's their job to ask about it, even if they know Westbrook is going to dismiss it.
- Fundamentally, it's OK to care about the triple-double streak and care about the Thunder's wins and losses and care about Westbrook's efficiency and care about Domantas Sabonis' poor rebounding numbers or whatever else interests you about this team. While it's understandable that Westbrook is trying to keep the focus on the team, I'd argue that is a false distinction. If he discussed it in more detail, it would not suddenly mean he's selfish or doesn't care about winning. Part of the reason the triple-double streak is interesting is because OKC is 9-3 when he gets one and 6-8 when he doesn't -- if he falls short because of assists, for example, it's probably because his teammates aren't making their open looks.
- Ironically, all this quote did was give people another angle with which to write about the triple-doubles.
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