By: Kylan Watson
Russell Westbrook has had an incredible 2016-2017 NBA season, he currently averages 31.8 points per game, 10.3 assists per game, grabs 10.6 rebounds per game, and averages 1.6 steals per game. Westbrook also has recorded 32 triple doubles this season. Westbrook has had to do it all to help his team stay in contention for a playoff spot. Westbrook is a candidate for the Most Valuable Player award, but the real question is what is more important statistics or wins?
Westbrook has become a stat-sheet stuffer and a valuable player to his team, however when Westbrook does not record a triple-double the Thunder are 11-26 this season. When he does record a triple double the Thunder are 26-6. Westbrook has cemented his superstar status in the league with his performance this season. However, even with his record making season the Thunder are currently sixth in the Western Conference with a 38-29 record.
Westbrook has done all he can to keep the Thunder relevant in the Western Conference, but his team does not have much around him to help Westbrook out. Westbrook averages 34.9 minutes per game and has the number one usage rate in the league which is 42.1%. Westbrook does not get to rest often because other than Victor Oladipo he does not have anyone else to rely on when it comes to scoring. After Kevin Durant left the team during the free agency period, everything fell on Westbrook. Westbrook now is suffering from not having a complete team around him. This Thunder team was built around Kevin Durant and not Westbrook. Westbrook now must fill up a stat sheet like Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley, and Karl Malone, to get his team to the playoffs.
Statistics may be a nice thing to see in a box score and during the game, but if a player is filling the stat sheet up that generally means that the team is not a strong team. The Thunder’s playoff hopes rest squarely on the shoulders of Westbrook, and even if the Thunder make the playoffs, they will probably not go too far because eventually Westbrook will come up against a complete team that he will not be able to beat without some help.