- J Pat Carter/Getty Images
- Russell Westbrook responded to critics who argue that he pads his stats with easy rebounds in order to get triple-doubles.
- The comments came as Russell Westbrook needs 16 rebounds in the Thunder’s final game of the season to average a triple-double for the second straight year.
- While some will claim that Westbrook’s only accomplishes his statistical feats by securing easy rebounds, his accomplishments are undeniable in terms of historical precedent.
Last year, Russell Westbrook made history as the first player to average a triple-double on the season since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62.
With just one game remaining in the 2017-18 season, Westbrook needs just 16 rebounds to do it again.
Westbrook’s statistical accomplishments are no doubt impressive – his season of triple-doubles last year won him his first MVP award in a year crowded with competition. That said, his determination to get triple-doubles led to criticism from some in the basketball world who argued that Westbrook was padding his stats, especially on rebounds, by going after easy balls that didn’t mean much.
While it’s impossible to dismiss Westbrook’s accomplishments – again, his achievements were all but unseen before in the NBA – there were some videos that seemed to suggest that he was almost boxing out his own teammates on occasion in order to reach double-digits. Carmelo Anthony went as far as to say that the team was fine with Westbrook padding out his rebounds since history was on the line.
Still, Westbrook has had to respond to a similar criticism for the better part of a year now, and just 16 rebounds away from making history yet again, Westbrook fired back at those who might try to dismiss his accomplishments.
“A lot people make jokes about whatever, stat-padding or going to get rebounds,” Westbrook said while speaking with reporters ahead of the Thunder’s final game of the season. “If people could get 20 rebounds every night, they would. If people could f—— get 15 rebounds, they would. People that’s talking or saying whatever they need to say, they should try doing it and see how hard it is.”
You can watch an extended clip of Westbrook’s response below. WARNING: Language
“If people could get 20rebounds every night, they would. If people could f***ing get 15rebounds, they would.â¬
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 11, 2018
The Thunder play at home against the Memphis Grizzlies to close out their 2017-18 regular season. When the teams last met in February, Westbrook had a game high 13 rebounds on the night.