If I asked you to name the most statistically dominant NBA player through approximately the first 1⁄4 of the 2016-17 season, who would be your pick?
Granted, there are a lot of good names to choose from.
James Harden makes for a fine candidate as he’s averaging 28.9 points, 12.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds, while leading the Houston Rockets to the 4th-best record in the Western Conference. Then there’s Kevin Durant and his league-leading 68.1 TS%, LeBron James and a career-best 9.7 assists per game and Damian Lillard’s 28.2 points per game.
Yet none of these players reside in the top 2 when factoring in all the regular counting stats.
Just as many predicted before the start of the season, Russell Westbrook was primed to explode for the Oklahoma City Thunder without Durant. According to his statistics, he has done just that as he’s currently averaging 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.4 rebounds a game.
There it is. Russell Westbrook is officially averaging a triple double this season. pic.twitter.com/NvRDs0J6Wq— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) November 29, 2016
Not since Oscar Robertson back in the 1961-62 season has an NBA player averaged a triple double this late into the regular schedule.
That’s some pretty incredible stuff!
Yet, if one goes by game score — a Hollinger metric that gives a rough measure of a player’s productivity for a single game — Anthony Davis has been the most impressive performer, averaging a game score of 26.1 versus Russell Beastbrook’s 24.6. Propelling Davis to the front of the pack has been his gaudy steal and block numbers without the high turnover and personal foul rates that accompany so many other big minute, high usage players.
Davis isn’t a newcomer in making history with the game score metric. In last season’s epic 59/20 game against the Detroit Pistons, he registered a 53.9 mark, the highest single game total in the league since Kobe Bryant’s 81-point outburst in 2006 and the sixth highest since 1983-84.
This season Davis has eclipsed the 30-point barrier 7 times in 17 games, with a high score of 46.5 on opening night against the Denver Nuggets when he scored 50 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Conversely, Westbrook has surpassed the 30-point hurdle 5 times in 19 games, with a game score high of 42.7 points against the Orlando Magic.
If you’re seeking triple doubles, Russell Westbrook is your man, but if you’re more interested in the greatest individual production from game-to-game, look no further than Anthony Davis.