By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
As the 2017 year has come and gone, we’ll start handing out our awards for the year. Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has received our Player of the Year Award.
After the departure of Kevin Durant, who signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, there was speculation that Westbrook would also exit when he would be given the opportunity. Yet, on August 4th, 2016, he would remain loyal to the franchise, signing a three-year, $85.7 million deal.
As the 2016-17 season began, he needed just his second game against the Phoenix Suns to record a triple-double. He had 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 113-110 overtime win.
This was the first 50-point triple-double since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975.
He wasted no time, as he picked up another triple-double two days later against the Los Angeles Lakers. He had 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists in the 113-96 win.
Westbrook became just the fourth player, who had triple-doubles in his first three games of the season. He joined Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Jerry Lucas to accomplish this feat.
He became the second player in NBA history, joining Robertson, who averaged a triple-double, for the month of December. Westbrook had seven straight triple-doubles on December 9th when he had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 102-99 loss to the Houston Rockets.
Through the halfway mark at 41 games, he was averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game. This marked the latest anyone ever had averaged a triple-double in a season since Robertson during the 1966-67 season.
When Robertson averaged a triple-double, he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game.
As the month became January, Westbrook’s triple-double streak continued. On January 15th, Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists for his 20th triple-double of the season, as the Thunder defeated the Sacramento Kings.
Westbrook became the third player in NBA history to have 20 triple-doubles in a season shortly thereafter. He joined Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain at that point.
He ended the month with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 114-105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Through 57 games at the All-Star break in February, Westbrook was averaging 31.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 10.1 assists per game. He then had three straight triple-doubles following the All-Star break, as he reached 30 on the season.
He picked up his 31st triple-double of the season on March 9th against the San Antonio Spurs. This mark tied Chamberlain’s record in 1967-68 for the second-most triple-doubles in a season.
Two days later, he broke the tie with Chamberlain with his 32nd triple-double.
As the season was coming to an end in April, he picked up his 41st triple-double on the season on April 4th against the Milwaukee Bucks. Five days later, Westbrook broke the record with his 42nd triple-double on April 9th against the Denver Nuggets.
On the season with his 42nd triple-double, he had 79 triple-doubles in his career, surpassing Chamberlain with 78. Despite going 47-35 on the regular-season, Westbrook is our Player of the Year, because of what he did on the court.
We may never see another player ever accomplish another triple-double since the odds are very against it. It takes a lot to do what Westbrook did night-in and night-out, which is why he has received our Player of the Year Award.
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