Normally, at this stage of the season, there are 3-4 potential names we can talk about, all equally deserving of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. However, this is no ordinary NBA season. After watching games, seeing box scores, and following the postseason run closely, I can say, without any doubt, that Russell Westbrook is the league’s MVP. Don’t worry, by the end of this article, you’ll be on the bandwagon.
Last evening Westbrook continued his incredible season with a feat we haven’t ever seen in the NBA. Westbrook compiled his 35th triple-double of the season, impressive; right? But he did it in a fashion that’s unfathomable to the average fan. Westbrook had 18 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds; oh, and he didn’t miss a single shot all night long, (except for maybe the 1/2 court shots he warms up with.) Westbrook went 6-6 from the field, and 6-6 from the line, en route to the NBA equivalent of the “Perfect Game.”
Let’s backtrack for a minute. Westbrook received much praise this offseason, for re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and rightfully so. Kevin Durant pulled a Lebron, and left to play with 3 of the top 15 players in the game, building a super-squad in Golden State. With that, the rumors began to swirl around this beautiful thing called the internet. Westbrook will be traded to the Lakers, Westbrook won’t sign a long-term deal with the Thunder, it’s a small market, they won’t be able to get him any help, this team will be in the cellar for years to come. Blah Blah Blah. Westbrook, not only shut all speculation down by signing with the Thunder, he also showed a trait not very prevalent in today’s world of sports- Loyalty. But, the MVP isn’t about his loyal traits, it’s about numbers; so let’s dive deeper.
This season, Russell Westbrook has 35 triple-doubles. The next closest player to that, is James Harden from the Rockets, with 19 (Lebron only has 10, for all you “Queen James lovers.) Westbrook paces the NBA in points per game (31.2) and is third in assists per game (10.4) and 11th in rebounds per game (10.5). You do the math, that’s AVERAGING a triple-double for the season. Also, Westbrook is a point guard, he’s the only guard who’s in the top-20 in rebounding for the league. What’s most impressive about the numbers Westbrook has this season, you ask? His team is competitive. These media-proclaimed “cellar-dwellers” are in 6th place, firmly in the playoffs at this time, thanks to Westbrook’s abilities on the floor.
When I post these blogs, I try to remain impartial, I don’t write-off Lebron as the MVP because I don’t like him, or give it to Steph Curry because he’s a favorite of mine. I look at what an individual has done for his team throughout the season, then I try to take a look at what the team would be like without said player. To me, that’s the definition of value. Where would a team be without their best player? The Cavs would be in the playoffs without Lebron, as would the Warriors without Curry. So the race really comes down to 2 players- Harden, and Westbrook.
The Rockets have clinched a playoff berth already, and are 8 games up in both the win and loss column from OKC. Take Harden off the Rockets roster, they’re still a good team, and are probably somewhere close to what the Thunder record is right now (41-30.) If you take Westbrook off the OKC roster, ladies and gentlemen, it’s quite ugly. The worst record in the NBA goes to the Brooklyn Nets (hats off, Jay-Z) at 14-56. The Thunder wouldn’t be THAT bad without Westbrook, but they’d be around Laker-range (20-51.) That being said, the MVP shouldn’t go to the BEST player, it should go to the player that carries his team. The player that has to play in order for the team to be competitive. That player, this year, is Russell Westbrook, and if you look at the numbers, it shouldn’t even be a discussion.