Durant/Westbrook putting up legendary scoring numbers
Pat DeCola – FOXSportsSouthwest.com
On the heels of another spectacular performance by Russell Westbrook, the question has to be asked.
Is he the greatest player of all time?
Well, no. Of course not. Who knows? He could be, but that conversation is many, many years down the road.
However, his eye-popping start to the 10-11 season has quickly turned enough heads to bring him into the conversation regarding the NBA’s elite in the game today.
Combine him with that other elite guy on his team (who is quietly leading the league in scoring, mind you) and Oklahoma City boasts perhaps the deadliest one-two punch around.
Stronger than any *ahem* trio, for sure.
Westbrook’s astounding 38 point, 15 rebound, nine-assist toying of New Jersey on Wednesday night brings his season scoring average to 24.6 ppg. Kevin Durant (the aforementioned “other elite guy”) sat out the three-overtime contest with the Nets but is tops in the league with an average of 27.3 ppg.
Don’t whip out the calculator; I’ll do the math for you.
That’s a combined 51.9 points up on the scoreboard each night.
Now comes the fun part.
What duo comes to mind when the scoring numbers reach that high?
If you’re thinking Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, well, then you’re probably still bitter and want your team back. Nobody blames you for that.
But if you thought Scottie Pippen and Michael “You’re Just Making Excuses” Jordan, then you’re right on.
After doing some research into some of the highest marks that two teammates have combined to post in a single season, the pace that Durant and Westbrook are on would place them in company with nothing but Hall of Famers as far as the eye can see.
In 1991-92, Jordan and Pippen, the popular pick for “greatest duo of all time,” averaged a combined 52.5 ppg.
Durant and Westbrook are a mere six-tenths of a point away from tying this very impressive statistic.
While not the highest in history, if such a feat were to be matched it would all but guarantee that each of them won’t have to wait in line for any of the rides at the inevitable post-O’Brien Trophy-hoisting that these young guys undoubtedly have in their near future.
And I say “undoubtedly” because of what the list of other high-scoring duos has revealed.
Check out these terrific twosomes and their highest combined scoring totals:
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant: 57.5 ppg in 2002-03
Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Oscar Robertson: 52.2 ppg in 1971-72
Larry Bird and Kevin McHale: 51.7 ppg in 1986-87
John Stockton and Karl Malone: 48.2 ppg in 1989-90
Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson: 46.9 ppg in 1980-81
Julius Erving and Moses Malone: 45.9 ppg in 1982-83
Tim Duncan and David Robinson: 42.7 ppg in 1997-98
Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas: 41.1 ppg in 1992-93
Notice anything similar about these guys, apart from each one of them being a previously-inducted or future Hall of Famer?
They’re all championship duos.
(Except for Stockton and Malone, but they were competing for it enough times to be considered for the list.)
Now here’s another number: 63.3.
It’s the average amount that the Miami Heat coalition of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh put in the stat book each night.
Take into account that OKC is 13-6, 2.5 games out of first place in the West , and a trendy pick to win it all while Miami sits at a heavily-scrutinized 11-8 amidst turmoil within the locker room.
Now that 51.9 ppg that Durant and Westbrook add seems all the more impressive.
It isn’t a coincidence.