"The things he's been able to do, hopefully, we will say, 'Give him his love, give him his respect.' This is really big. This is something I couldn't even do. I know how big it is."
Legendary point guard Magic Johnson paid his respects to the record-breaking feats of Russell Westbrook, who now sits atop the NBA's all-time triple-double list after passing Oscar Robertson's 47-year-old record.
Westbrook has made the triple-double his signature, with his name alongside some of the most eye-popping records in league history, recording the most triple-doubles in a single season with 42 in the 2016-17 season and becoming the first player since the Big O to average a triple-double for an entire season.
He's now done it four times.
With the 32-year-old making some of the league's untouchable records his own, our NBA.com Staff plays a game of "Fact or Fiction" to answer four burning questions surrounding Westbrook's achievements.
Is Westbrook's triple-double record unbreakable?
Kane Pitman (@KanePitman): Fiction. 145 of Westbrook's 182 triple-doubles have come in the last five seasons. It's a remarkable number, but with the way stats are accumulated in the modern game and the emphasis that is put on registering a triple-double, it certainly feels like it will be topped at some point.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Records are meant to be broken, but even this seems hard to conceive. Fact.
Triple-doubles aren't as rare as they used to be, but as Westbrook says, "It ain't easy. I don't take nights off. I don't cheat the game." That's what makes him special, he plays at an intensity we've seen few players have and it will take a generational talent to come close to Westbrook. I mean, LeBron James has 83 less than Westbrook, with only four players EVER to crack 100.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Fiction. We once thought Oscar Robertson's record was unbreakable and look what happened. Now that Westbrook has shown that it's possible, I feel like someone will eventually catch him. With the way the game is played today and how many younger players are flirting with triple-doubles on a nightly basis, I can't rule it out, at the very least.
Will Westbrook finish his career with over 250 career triple-doubles?
Pitman: Fact. Of course the caveat is health, but Westbrook has already recorded 36 triple-doubles this season, which comes on the back of 34 in 2018-19, 25 in 2017-18 and 42 in 2016-17. At current pace, he could reach 250 during the 2022-23 season, and it's fair to say he is showing no signs of slowing down.
Kidane: I'm going with fact.
He only needs 68 to get there and conceivably he would only need two seasons to do so. Pending longevity, is 300 out of the question? Probably, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ended his career closer to 300 than below 250.
Rafferty: Well, when you put it like that, Kane, it's hard not to say fact. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he gets over 250 because Westbrook has to slow down at some point ... right? But I also don't think it's crazy to assume that he has two more seasons of this type of production in him. I mean, he's still posting 20-20-10 triple-doubles. Westbrook will still be a triple-double threat even with a slight dropoff.
Is Luka Doncic the biggest threat to catch Westbrook?
Pitman: Fact. Of current active players the answer is absolutely Doncic. Having just turned 22, he has the longevity factor on his side. Let's have some fun with this. If Westbrook ends his career on a round number of 300, Doncic would need to record 22 triple-doubles per season for the next 12 years. That would take him to 34 years old. I think we are being pretty generous with that number for Russ so you get the idea ... Doncic certainly appears to be on track to one day track down Westbrook.
Kidane: With 35 to his name already, Doncic is fifth among active players in triple-doubles and is probably the biggest threat, but I'll throw Nikola Jokic's name into the ring. He's already piled up 56 in his career and is only 26 years old. 180-plus triple-doubles for the big man when it's all said and done is probably pushing it, but he's only getting better and better every season.
Rafferty: Fact. Here's a fun stat: Westbrook had a total of eight triple-doubles in his first six seasons in the league. Doncic is already at 35 through three seasons. Provided he stays healthy, Doncic is trending in the right direction to catch him.
Will Westbrook break Scott Skiles' single-game assist record?
Pitman: The answer is fact if he stays in Washington. The combination of the Wizards' breakneck No. 1 ranked pace and Westbrook's stat-hounding ways are the perfect combination. With the way teams shoot the ball in the modern game, I'm almost surprised this record hasn't already been toppled.
Kidane: Fact. Westbrook has seven games with 20 or more assists, recording 24 dimes on two occasions. I honestly think it's just a matter of time.
The fact that the record has stood for more than 30 years shows how wild a number that truly is, considering the point guards and playmakers that have come since, but if anyone is dishing out 30 dimes in a game, it's gotta be Westbrook.
Rafferty: Fiction. Look, if anyone is going to do it, it's probably Westbrook, but 31 assists is absurd. There have only been 16 25-plus assist games in NBA history! There's a reason nobody has even come close to Skiles' record in 30 years.
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