Intensity. Ferocious. Insane. These are just a few words that might describe the play of Russell Westbrook. When Westbrook first entered the league, any thought he and Derrick Rose were just the same type of player: Fast, scoring point guards that presented the evolution of the NBA. Westbrook went down with a meniscus injury in the Playoffs not long after Rose tore his ACL. With Rose struggling to return to form, many thought Westbrook would have difficulties as well.
They couldn't have been more wrong.
Westbrook came back better: Stronger, faster, more intense, and didn't deviate from the style of play he brought to the league. Last year, one year removed from his meniscus tear, Westbrook averaged 28.1 ppg (leading the NBA in scoring), 8.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. He played only 27 of his 67 games with Kevin Durant and Durant was done for good by mid February. Westbrook had 9 triple doubles last season, he eclipsed 40 points 9 times including scoring 40 and having a triple double 3 times last year. He was unreal. He's kept it up this year and is mostly flying under the radar due to the Steph Curry love that has swept the NBA. Here are some Russell Westbrook facts:
- There are only 3 players in NBA history to average 20 points per game, 10 assists per game, and 7 rebounds per game: Oscar Robertson (4 times), Magic Johnson (once), and Russell Westbrook (this season). That's it. That's a pretty exclusive list.
- There's only player ever that has averaged 20 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals: Russell Westbrook
- There are only 2 players in NBA history that have averaged 25 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals per game: Michael Jordan and Russell Westbrook (last year)
- There are only 4 players in NBA history that have ever averaged 25 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds: Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, and Russell Westbrook (last year)
And the media? They're just focused on Steph Curry and Golden State's historical run this season - and rightfully so - but let's not fail to recognize another great player in his prime doing things that we see so rarely. We should be celebrating the tenacious Russell Westbrook and all his brilliance and enjoying it just as much as we're enjoying the rest of this NBA season. Who knows if or when we'll ever see this again.
Brandon Pence is the founder and former editor of the Chicago Bulls blog "The Bulls Charge." He currently contributes to ChiBullsZone.com and writes independently. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook