Russell Westbrook Makes History With MVP
What an amazing season Russell Westbrook! He not only won the MVP, but he also set the record for most triple doubles in a season as well as averaged a triple-double in the process. Westbrook averaged 31.6 pts, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds a game, during the 2016-17 season. While I was wrong in my prediction earlier in the season here, I believe Westbrook winning is actually a good thing for the league.
Saying that Westbrook is “explosive” would be an understatement. At 6’3”, 200 lbs, he can get from one end of the court to the other faster than anyone in the league and then dunk on a 7-footer to finish the play. His only speed is fast, while he seemingly never got tired, even while starting 81 games and averaging 35 minutes per game. His constant intensity and effort are the reason why he averaged 10.7 rpg, which ranked 9th in the league. He was top in the league in ‘Usage Rate’ for good reason considering he led the NBA at almost 32 ppg and was 3rd in the league in assists at 10.4 per game. As you can imagine, his year was full of highlights and he capped his historic regular season off with a deep 3-point buzzer beater.
After Russell was presented with the MVP Award Monday night, he presented an emotional and heartfelt speech. He took the time to thank everyone in the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, his teammates, who he invited up on stage with him, his parents, brother and wife, and yes, even the media. Check out the full speech below.
So yes, if you read my MVP Update article, you know I thought James Harden should’ve won the award over Westbrook but that was based on the fact that I think the MVP award in the NBA is flawed (see my thoughts here). The MVP generally goes to the best player on one of the best teams in the league, not necessarily the player that had the best season. Harden averaged 29 ppg, 11 apg and 8 rpg and took the Rockets from a 41-41 finish last season to 55-27 (3rd best record in the league) this year. Based off how the award has worked in the past, Harden probably should’ve won, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m actually glad Westbrook won because it’s a step in the right direction. I understand that the MVP should lead their team to success, but I don’t think a player should be penalized for an individual award because they’re on a bad team (e.g. Anthony Davis finishing 5th in MVP voting in 2015 even though he led the league in PER).
In conclusion, congratulations to Russell Westbrook on a phenomenal and historic season. Watching him play this past season was exciting and I hope him winning this award starts a trend, so that the player with the best season wins the award regardless of their team’s record.
Russell Westbrook MVP Speech: