DALLAS — Russell Westbrook no longer is a polarizing figure in Oklahoma City NBA circles. Only dolts still argue what not so long ago was a popular anthem, that Westbrook was masquerading as an NBA point guard. Westbrook has won over nearsighted critics with the league’s eighth-best assist total (seventh among point guards). He quarterbacks the NBA’s ninth-best team in terms of record and he keeps making plays that approach astonishing. Expect the spectacular tonight in the Rookie Challenge, the NBA’s JV all-star game. Westbrook or some of his fellow pro sophomores will use the stage as their coming-out party, ala Carmelo Anthony in 2005 and Kevin Durant in 2009. The Thunder loves it some Westbrook, but truth is, most of these sophomores are treasured by their franchises. O.J. Mayo in Memphis, Eric Gordon in Clipperville, Kevin Love in Minnesota. The big guys, Memphis’ Marc Gasol and New Jersey’s Brook Lopez, give the league hope that post players won’t die out. Too early to tell who among this group emerges as the absolute superstar, though Derrick Rose (injured and sitting out tonight) has the pole posirebounds, 10 assists and eight steals. Three boards and two takeaways from that rarest of all NBA birds, a quadruple-double. But here’s the category that matters most. Age. Westbrook is 21, and while the majority of these super sophs are 21, Westbrook’s different for his position. He, like Rose, is playing big-league point guard at 21. That’s not the same assignment as playing out on the wing or inside. Point guards have to make 100 split-second decisions every game, on the move, and they can flounder. Westbrook has from time to time the last year and a half. But Westbrook also has flourished. His decision-making gets better by the week, his production keeps rising and his flaws are fading fast. That’s what happens with 20- and 21-year-old point guards. We see it in baseball all the time. A 20-year-old hitter with the same production as a 25-year-old hitter isn’t even close to the same player as his elder. The 20-year-old is going to accelerate far beyond what that 25-year-old is doing. Ted Williams was a 20-year-old rookie in 1939 and showed tons of promise. But he struck out 64 times, fifth-highest in the American League, and whiffing was no badge of honor in those days. Yet any 20-year-old who could hit .327 was destined for big things. Two years later, Williams hit .406. Struck out 27 times. Enough baseball. There are plenty of hoop examples. Let’s have some fun. I took Westbrook’s current season averages: 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists. I rounded down quite a bit: 15 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists. Here are the players who have reached that less-than-Westbrook threshold before the age of 22: LeBron James twice, Magic Johnson twice, Chris Paul twice, Isiah Thomas, Gilbert Arenas, Derrick Rose and Allen Iverson. Westbrook and current rookie Brandon Jennings are on pace. If you don’t round down so far, just go with 16 points, four rebounds and seven assists, you end up with only LeBron, Magic twice, CP3 twice, Isiah, Iverson and Westbrook. That’s called tall cotton. Let’s go back to that Golden State game: 21 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, eight steals. I ran the numbers for anyone who ever totaled 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and seven steals in a game. Again, that’s below Westbrook’s production that night. Only two players in NBA history have done it before the age of 22. Westbrook and Baron Davis. Before the age of 23, add Ron Artest. Before the age of 24, Chris Paul, Charles Barkley and Kevin Garnett. Before the age of 25, add Michael Jordan, Michael Williams and Alvin Robertson. Before the age of 27, Doug Christie. Before the age of 28, Dwyane Wade and Fat Lever. Before the age of 29, Scottie Pippen. In their 30s, add John Lucas and Clyde Drexler. That standard — 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, seven steals in a game — has been reached 24 times in NBA history, by 15 players, only two at the age of 21. This is like last spring, when I compared Westbrook’s rookie year with the most similar rookie point guard seasons in NBA history. Five of the six most similar were Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Penny Hardaway, D-Wade and Isiah. Do you detect a pattern? Westbrook keeps showing up on lists with the likes of Magic Johnson, Chris Paul, Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson and Derrick Rose. Doing remarkable things at a remarkably young age. I have no idea what kind of player Westbrook will become. I do know what kind of player he is. Among NBA point guards, Westbrook is second in rebounding, seventh in assists, 12th in assist/turnover ratio and 15th in scoring. And he’s 21 years old. Something special has come our way. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.