Grant Hill retired Saturday, 19 years after making his NBA debut. Hill, always a class act, was feted for many things. Including his basketball.
Injuries eventually robbed Hill of sustained superstar status. But those early years in the NBA were quite special. Through six seasons, Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. Those are phenomenal numbers.
And here’s how phenomenal. Only five other players in NBA history have averaged at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game over their first six NBA seasons: Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
That’s how good Grant Hill was. He’s in a club in which outside of Hill himself, the worst player is Jerry West.
And here’s how good Russell Westbrook is. He’s got a decent chance to join the club.
Through five seasons, Westbrook has averaged 19.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. So if Westbrook next season plays 82 games (which he always has, despite the knee injury that knocked him out of the 2013 playoffs), he needs to average 20.6 points and 5.8 rebounds a game to join the club.
The scoring should be no problem. Westbrook the last three seasons has averaged 21.9, 23.6 and 23.2 points a game.
The rebounds won’t be as easy, though Westbrook is an excellent rebounder as a point guard. He’s averaged 4.9, 4.9, 4.6, 4.6 and 5.2 rebounds per game. Reaching 5.8 is quite possible but would be a significant jump . Of course, if someone tells Westbrook about the opportunity, he’s likely to make it a priority.
As for assists, if Westbrook has zero assists over 82 games, he’s still above the 5.0 threshold.
That would be quite the club to enter.