NBA

Twice is nice for Ben Simmons


Welcome to Triple-Double Watch, a weekly check-in on everyone’s favorite arbitrary milestone of round, base-ten numbers.

It was a quiet week on the triple-double front. Only a pair of new ones came onto the scene, and they both lacked a certain oomph. Neither broke the 15 point threshold or went above 11 rebounds or assists. Of course, achieving the stat line is always cool, but there are degrees, and these were less than spectacular.

Ben Simmons, the redshirt rookie phenom, notched his second triple-double of the young season. Despite not really being able to shoot yet, Simmons has looked terrific, exceeding expectations and easing the blow of everything associated with Markelle Fultz. Philadelphia has a star in the making and, health permitting, could be on the verge of a playoff push in the spring.

The Thunder are still trying to get their bearings and figure it all out with their new assortment of players. Russell Westbrook’s numbers thus far reflect that. They’re merely great opposed to extraordinary. Even with the hindrance of a team in transition, Westbrook only needs to grab one more rebound per game to get back to his season-long triple-double pace. He’s currently averaging 20.1 points and 11.4 assists.

With his fourth of the year, Westbrook maintains his steady charge up the career triple-double leaderboard. Conquering the board in a one-by-one ladder-style paired with Westbrook being a Vitruvian force of nature, got me to imagining Russ as a Street Fighter character with the final three spots as his boss stages.

Instead of compiling a bunch of new stat lines, Westbrook would have to fight the NBA legend ahead of him to commandeer a higher rung on the ladder.

25 more triple-doubles to move into third place all-time? Nah, sorry, Russ. You gotta engage Jason Kidd in a steel-cage brawl while he wears a metal claw and facemask (and apparently penny loafers). Once you finish with him, second-place requires you to fly to Bangkok and challenge Magic Johnson to a Muay Thai deathmatch in the shadow of the Ayutthaya Ruins.

Then, after defeating those two, Oscar Robertson and his 181 triple-doubles awaits at the end, in full M.Bison garb, ready to do battle.

Of course, assorted U.S. laws and various parameters of reality mean Westbrook will continue his quest the old-fashioned way: stockpiling statistical dominance and stuffing box scores. But it’d be dope to have an NBA/Street Fighter 2 mashup.

However, if any one player has superhuman powers, it’d be Westbrook. The man once got his face dented in a game and kept on playing, so it remains unconfirmed if he can throw energy fireballs or turn into a bundle of lightning bolts. Based on this play alone, I’ll assume he can until proven otherwise.

The Ron Baker Corner grows sadder with each passing week. Baker’s been held out of game action since Oct. 24, diagnosed with an ankle injury/general ineffectiveness. The Knicks are an almost-impossible-to-believe 5-1 in that span. I fear if this trend continues, I’ll be forced to retire Ron Baker Corner and take up interest in another marginal NBA talent. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that…



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