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Russell Westbrook on triple-doubles: ‘I’m pretty sure if everybody could do it, they would do it’

Michael Smith and Michael Holley explain how Russell Westbrook can make an opposing team miserable, especially if the Washington Wizards sneak into the NBA Play-In Tournament in the Eastern Conference.

Russell Westbrook is tired of being taken for granted.

He had another triple-double Monday night, making it 29 for him this season and his 12th in April (the new NBA record for most in a month). He is averaging a triple-double for the season. Again. But despite that, he was not an All-Star, is not likely to be an All-NBA guard, and is not getting mentioned in even the fringe of the MVP discussion.

Westbrook feels taken for granted and talked about that after the Wizards’ loss Monday. He was asked if all the triple-doubles he racks up feel accomplishments (answer via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).

“I honestly believe there is no player like myself and if people want to take it for granted, sorry for them,” Westbrook said.

“I’m pretty sure if everybody could do it, they would do it. I honestly make sure I impact the game in many ways every night; defending, rebounding, passing, whatever it is my team needs from me to win. That’s what I do. I really don’t, honestly, I don’t care what people think about it...

“I don’t care what anybody thinks of this whatever they want to call it ‘stat-padding’ or ‘not useful.’ I think it’s very interesting that it’s not useful when I’m doing it. It wasn’t useful when Magic [Johnson] and Oscar [Robertson] and those guys were doing it. Now that I do it and it looks easy, this s--- ain’t easy, though. I’ll tell you that. It ain’t easy,” he said.

Westbrook has a point. This is the era of the triple-double in the NBA, with so many being racked up players such as himself, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and others that the novelty has worn off. They seem more routine. That doesn’t mean they were any easier to accomplish.

However, how much a triple-double helps a team win is up for debate (Westbrook has 29 this season and the Wizards are eight games below .500). The efficiency with which a player gets his numbers matters more — if a player has a triple-double but needed 22 shots to get his 15 points, how much better is he making the team? Rebound stats can be padded, and players will sometimes hunt assists rather than make the right basketball play.

Meaning it’s not just getting the triple-double that matters, it’s how a player gets it. Not all triple-doubles are created equally. Is it done in the flow of an offense that is working, or is it a player going solo and getting the numbers but not doing it efficiently, while teammates stand around and watch?

When Westbrook gets a triple-double, his teams tend to win more games. That’s not a coincidence. But getting a triple-double is not the only way to spark team success.

Not that Westbrook cares what I think.