June 18, 2024

Making the Case: Russell Westbrook for MVP

The Brodie has been the best player in the league this season by a country mile.

Submitted photo.

TNJN sports writer Jonathan Johnson.

The best thing that ever happened for Russell Westbrook was Kevin Durant moving to Golden State this past offseason.

Why? The legend of “The Brodie” would not have been able to grow like it has this season. Also, the gaudy numbers that Westbrook has put up this season would not have been possible if Durant was still in an Oklahoma City jersey.

Speaking of those numbers, they tell the cold, hard story of why Russell Westbrook is the unanimous MVP this season. And it’s not even close.

Through 78 games this season, Westbrook is averaging 31.8 points per game, tops in the league. It’s also nearly three points better than other MVP candidate, James Harden. In rebounds, Westbrook is averaging 10.7 a game good for 10th in the league.

If you needed reminding about how incredible that is, just remember that Russell Westbrook is a point guard. He’s also averaging 10.4 assists per game, third in the league behind John Wall and Harden.

Those numbers have Westbrook sitting on a triple-double average for the entire season. Only one player, Oscar Robertson, has averaged a triple-double for an entire season. If Westbrook’s stats hold, he’ll become the second person in the history of the NBA to do this.

To top it all off, his performance this season is even better than Robertson’s.

The main difference between the pair’s numbers is the pace of play. During “The Big O’s” record-setting season, the Cincinnati Royals averaged 124.9 possessions per game. The Thunder have only only averaged 98 possessions per game this season. That’s almost 27 more possessions a game for Robertson to put up more stats than Westbrook could.

Robertson also averaged almost 10 minutes more a game than Westbrook has this season. This comparison of The Big O and the Brodie is great, but it tells a simple truth. There is no way that Russell Westbrook should be slighted the MVP award this season.

Some have called for co-MVPs this season, as James Harden has put up some pretty impressive numbers himself this season. I think that would be the wrong thing to do. The MVP award stands for the player who stood out over each and every other player in the league this season.

If you’ve paid attention to the NBA at all this season, then you know that Westbrook has stood out above the rest. Naming co-MVPs is a decent idea, but it does the best player, Westbrook, an injustice.

Besides, his numbers have simply been better than Harden’s have been. Harden is almost three points behind Russ in points per game and isn’t even in the top 20 in rebounding. While Harden is leading the league in assists, Westbrook is breathing down his neck in that category, only averaging 0.8 less than him. Russ is also top 10 in the league in the steals, putting him in the top 10 of four different stat categories.

It’s really a simple decision. Russell Westbrook is the MVP this season. And in my opinion, it’s not even close.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Submitted photo