Russell Westbrook will become the first NBA player to average a triple-double for a season in 55 years and the second in league history.
With his sixth assist of the game Friday night against the Phoenix Suns, Westbrook clinched a triple-double average.
Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson had been the last and only player to average a triple-double, putting up 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game in the 1961-62 season.
Westbrook recorded his 820th assist of the season with a long pass to Victor Oladipo for an and-1 layup in transition with 10:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Westbrook is also headed for his second scoring title, leading the league averaging 31.8 points per game. It’s the highest scoring mark of Westbrook’s career, to go with career marks in rebounding (10.7) and assists (10.4).
“No, no it wasn’t,” Westbrook said earlier in the week when asked if it was a goal before the season to average a triple-double. “I just play, man, honestly. It definitely wasn’t a goal, just going out and trying to win. Leadership to me was more important than averaging points or field goal percentage or whatever, because I think that’s what gets us the furthest and helps us win a championship.”
Westbrook accomplished the hallowed averages playing nearly 10 fewer minutes and around 25 fewer possessions per game than Roberson.
“I’m honored just to be mentioned in a conversation with Oscar Robertson,” Westbrook said. “The different things he did for the game of basketball to allow me to play the game today, I think that’s more important. Obviously triple-doubles are a great thing, but the way he played the game, the era when he played the game to allow guys like me to be able basketball and be able to do things like this.”
Westbrook began averaging a triple-double on Nov. 29 against the New York Knicks and has maintained the averages, never dropping below 10 in any category.
Westbrook’s season has been full of history, with him running up two streaks of seven consecutive triple-doubles, second only to Wilt Chamberlain‘s streak of nine. He sits fourth all-time in career triple-doubles at 78, tied with Chamberlain. He’s had seven 40-point triple-doubles, and two 50-point triple-doubles.
Information from ESPN’s Royce Young and Tim MacMahon was used in this report.