By Shayden Smith
What makes a player great? Leading the league in scoring? Averaging a triple-double? Making crazy commercials that make fun of sushi in Oklahoma? Let’s be honest, the sushi here is a little sketchy. The real path to greatness begins with one of the most important things all super-stars should have: leadership. When someone thinks of the greatest leaders the game of basketball has ever seen, they think of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell and so on. Russell Westbrook made his case Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs for being one of the top leaders in the NBA.
Does Westbrook always shoot the best percentage from the field? No. Is he one of the league leaders in turnovers? Yes, although it makes sense because he travels at 400 miles per hour. But one thing Westbrook will always bring to the table that even surpasses his incredible ability to achieve a triple-double on a nightly basis is his pure hustle. Westbrook makes those small plays that no one else would ever think about making. He does whatever he needs to do to help his team and make his teammates better. That is a true leader. Someone who does whatever it takes to win.
Westbrook finished Thursday night with 23 points, 13 assists, and 13 rebounds, notching his 31st triple-double of the season. This ties Wilt Chamberlain for second most triple-doubles in a single season. Do we really have to ask ourselves if he is great? Is there even a debate? Greatness has been called many things: MJ, Kobe, Duncan and now Westbrook.
Thursday night was yet another amazing showing from Mr. Triple-double, and the Thunder were also happy to see their second leading scoring back on the court for the second game in a row. Victor Oladipo helped Westbrook, putting up 20 points and grabbing four boards. OKC fans should not only be exciting about what Westbrook has done but about the core who surrounds him.
The Spurs put up a good fight in what had potential to be one of the best games of the season, but Westbrook was too much for them to handle. The Thunder overcame the Spurs 102 – 92.