10 years ago, even 5 years ago, when Kobe or LeBron grabbed that 10th rebound or got that last assist it was the best highlight of that week in basketball. Triple-Doubles were a rare sighting, they meant something, to not only us as fans but to the players. So what's happened?
Right now as I am writing this, 102 Triple-Doubles have occurred this season. Russell Westbrook leads the NBA with 38 personal Triple-Doubles, 3 shy of Oscar Robinson's 41. An NBA single-season record. James Harden is in second place with 20 Triple-Doubles and LeBron James in third with 10. That's 68 Triple-Doubles between 3 players. Today Russell Westbrook grabbed that 38th Triple-Double, while also adding 57 points making it the largest scoring Triple-Double in history.
This is my problem with that.
A 57 point Triple-Double! Usually, I would think that that is amazing, incredible, beyond imaginable for a player to achieve. However, when I personally found out about this news my reaction was not nearly that. I thought to myself - wow, of course, he'd do that. And this is my problem. The excitement of hearing about such an amazing accomplishment is gone this season. It seems as though every 3 days we have a Triple-Double or a 50 point game. I've become accustomed to seeing this, making this whole season less enjoyable and less exciting.
Devin Booker had 70 points the other night and what a night it was. It was crazy! Incredible! That's the stuff I'm talking about! I want to hear about this and drop whatever I'm doing and watch this unbelievable thing happen right before my eyes! 70 points! 70! And yet, a 50 point Triple-Double should be much more exciting shouldn't it? Is it happened less times in NBA history? Does it involve rebounding and getting assists? Surely that was just as incredible? Yet it's not. 3 times this has happened this year alone. Today was the 3rd 50 point Triple-Double this year. And although that's still crazy, I'm no longer excited about it.
We've gotten so accustomed to these 10+10+10 games we've forgotten how good they should be. They should come naturally, and watching Russell Westbrook or James Harden, and even LeBron sometimes, you think those Triple-Doubles come naturally? Elfrid Payton had back to back Triple-Doubles this year. What a fact! I bet not many knew that. Why? Because according to this season he should have been able to do that. What's stopping him? Russ and Harden do it every other day, so why can't Payton do that. We overshadow the real amazing accomplishments with these false great moments. Watching these OKC games you can see, not all them (not all of them, ok?). You can see Russell going for these Triple-Doubles, backing off his man leaving them open for the J, he plays lazy defence to grab that board. His assists too, an MVP makes his teammates better around him. Yet taking 40 shots while your teammates struggle to get theirs doesn't seem just that.
Draymond Green's Triple-Double I commend him for that. 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals while only having 4 points. That is what a Triple-Double should be. Hustling for those 10 steals, getting teammates open for those 10 assists and fighting down low for those 12 rebounds. Ask yourself, stop and think while reading this, would you ever see Russell Westbrook or James Harden have a 4 point Triple-Double. I am aware they are the main offense, but in a game in which they were forced to attempt this, would you ever, ever see them with just 4 points. No way.
And what about MVP? Good question. James Harden is your MVP! Why you ask? Because of that third seed, because of his team, because he was lucky enough to have all the piece fall in the right place this year. James Harden is your MVP. He should do a damn good job of thanking Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon for playing their best year in the NBA in his acceptance speech too.
To become an MVP you have to be a winner, that's fax. (Cash Nasty) and Russell isn't that. Grabbing down 10 rebounds and 10 assists a game is awesome. And 30 points too. Wow! But what does that translate too, not wins? OKC is currently sitting 6th with a better record than anyone, especially me expected. I commend the effort for that. However it's not enough. It's not enough to be named the best player in the league, because he isn't. If you're the best player you win games. Doesn't matter who's around you, whether you're 2007 Dirk or 2015 Steph Curry. You are the best player in the world because you are a winner. Triple-Doubles does not equal wins. Making your teammates better, doing the things that matter and getting W's does.
To further this, would anyone be surprised if Russell and his band of OKC got knocked out the first round of playoffs? Of course not. No one expects them to do great things. But when have we ever had an MVP who we expect to go badly in the playoffs, that we're not surprised when they get crushed by the superteams, never! Because the MVP's are always on those superteams. Why? Because they are what make those teams superteams.
I'm not a fan of superteams but that's how it is. There is no denying unless you're 2011 Derrick Rose who somehow had a better record than LeBron's Miami that year, the superteams are the MVP's. James Harden may not have a superteam himself, but he has their record. That's what puts him in the winning place.
Finally, I found this season to become boring the more I watched, less and less excitement hit me when I saw these stat lines. They aren't incredible anymore to me. They're forced. They're hunted. Players want the stats and forget about the main part of basketball, winning as a team.