Westbrook, Simmons reach NBA legend milestones

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots the ball against Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsRussell Westbrook joined an exclusive club on Tuesday. Westbrook’s third straight triple double in a win over the Atlanta Hawks was also the 100th triple double of his career, putting him in the company of all-time NBA greats Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and Jason Kidd. The Oklahoma City Thunder star’s statistical production has soared in recent years, and at 29 years old he should still have plenty of good basketball left in him.

Most of Westbrook’s triple doubles have come in the last four seasons. He has 63 over the last two years and 92 since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. The statistical explosion coincided with the absence of Kevin Durant and earned Westbrook an MVP award when he became the only player other than Robertson to average a triple double over the course of a season. He has single handedly recorded more than twice as many triple doubles as any team since he entered the league.

Westbrook’s first triple double came against Kidd in 2009, and in hindsight it feels like a passing of the torch. Kidd finished his career with 107 triple doubles, a mark Westbrook seems sure to pass before the end of 2018, while Robertson’s career total of 181 presents more of a challenge. Westbrook often claims he isn’t interested in stats, preferring to focus on whether or not his team won, but his stats illustrate his rise to becoming one of the most dominant forces on a basketball court - which has been a double-edged sword at times for Oklahoma City - and his historic totals will likely be the first thing people remember about his career, unless he is able to win a title.

Westbrook wasn’t the only player putting his name beside some Hall of Famers this week, as Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons continued his stellar debut season with a triple double of his own on Thursday. Simmons has already reached 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists, joining Johnson and Robertson as the only rookies to be so prolific. Thursday’s triple double was Simmons’ eighth, topping Johnson’s rookie total of seven, and it helped the 76ers move further into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, which Philadelphia has been absent from for some time.