While you were busy watching college football or still recovering from Thursday’s day of gluttony on Friday night, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was racking up another epic triple-double on his way to NBA history.
Westbrook went off for 36 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists in OKC’s 132-129 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. With that epic stat line, Westbrook is officially off to one of the best starts we’ve ever seen.
Specifically, he became the first player in NBA history to average at least 32 points, 9.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists through the first 17 games of a season. For the season, Westbrook already has six triple-doubles, two more than James Harden.
Of course, something else might jump out at you from Westbrook’s ridiculous averages. With just four more rebounds through the first 17 games, the Thunder point guard would be averaging a triple-double on the season, something only NBA legend Oscar Robertson accomplished over a full 82-game slate.
Robertson famously averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists in 1961-62, his second year in the NBA. Unfortunately, Basketball-Reference’s Play Index only goes back to the 1979-80 season, so we can’t readily find Robertson’s averages through the first 17 games of that season. One assumes he surpassed Westbrook in rebounds and assists, given his lofty season-long averages, while not quite reaching Westbrook’s level as a scorer.
While most people are familiar with Robertson’s outstanding ’61-62 season, it seems that many have forgotten that the Big O nearly accomplished that same feat again in 1963-64. In fact, Robertson averaged 31.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 11.0 assists per game that season, falling short of a triple-double for the year by just seven total rebounds.
Westbrook has a long way to go to match Robertson’s record. A month into the 2016-17 season, though, I’m not betting against him.