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Insider

Are Russell Westbrook's rebounds helping or hurting the Thunder?

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Given the importance of triple-doubles to Russell Westbrook's MVP candidacy, his rebounding has emerged as a crucial point of discussion.

There's no question that Westbrook has padded his rebounding stats to join Oscar Robertson as the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double while surpassing Robertson's record with 42 triple-doubles this season. As ESPN's Tom Haberstroh noted, Westbrook has piled up uncontested rebounds, including the most rebounds on missed free throws of anyone in the league by a wide margin.

As I showed last week, Westbrook doesn't necessarily need all those rebounds to be the league's most valuable player in my wins above replacement player metric.

But there's a darker possibility at play: that Westbrook isn't merely grabbing rebounds his teammates could have gotten but actively hurting the Oklahoma City Thunder in pursuit of boards. So it's worth considering just how much Westbrook's rebounding is helping his team.