LeBron James: Russell Westbrook ‘capable’ of averaging a triple-double
Count LeBron James among those who believe Russell Westbrook can average a triple-double over the entire 2016-17 NBA season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar on Wednesday was asked about the prospects of Westbrook setting a historic statistical pace over the league’s grueling 82-game regular-season schedule.
“Westbrook can do it. He’s capable of doing it, he’s showing it,” James said, via NewsOK.com’s Erik Horne. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny, man. He doesn’t get tired. When you have that passion for the game as well it’s very doable.
“The game has definitely changed. It’s almost feeling more like back in the 80’s when teams were putting up 145 and 135, more possessions, more shot attempts. Obviously they weren’t shooting as many threes but it was a lot of possessions. With his athleticism, him being able to go get those rebounds, he handles the ball for the majority of the game for OKC so he’s gonna get the assists.
“I think he’s averaging nine free throws a game. He’s gonna make seven or eight of those a game. And obviously he’s gonna get 10 points, that’s the easy thing for him. So it’s very doable.”
In Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Westbrook (28 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists) became the first NBA player to record five consecutive triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven in a row back in 1989.
And how did the Oklahoma City Thunder star follow up that performance? With another triple-double on Monday night, scoring 32 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out 12 assists in a 102-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Westbrook is averaging 31 points, 10.9 rebounds and 11.3 assists per game this season over 22 games, a pace that seems impossible for any player to maintain … save for perhaps Westbrook.
Westbrook won’t get a shot at tying MJ’s seven-straight triple-double mark until Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets. But one thing is certain: People will be paying attention, probably even LeBron James, who knows a thing or two about stuffing a stat sheet with the kind of numbers Westbrook is putting up on a near-nightly basis.