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The number of MVPs Russell Westbrook should have right now


One. That is the number of MVP titles Russell Westbrook has to his name.

The explosive 6-foot-3 point guard bagged the award during his historic 2016-17 campaign. Did he deserve that award? Absolutely. Would it have been a complete travesty if he actually didn’t win the trophy that year? Probably not. This is what we’re going to get into here today.

We’re also going to discuss why Westbrook, despite averaging insane numbers for at least two other seasons was never really in serious contention for the MVP title on those specific seasons. At the end of all this, we hope to convince you that the number of MVPs Russell Westbrook should have right now is just what it is: one.

2016-17 Season (MVP: Russell Westbrook)

Only two people in league history have ever averaged a triple-double for an entire season. The great Oscar Robertson was the first to achieve this astounding statistical feat during the 1961-62 season, and 55 years later, Russell Westbrook became only the second player to do the same.

Westbrook had an amazingly strong start to his campaign, logging triple-doubles left and right. Still, very few, if any, believed that he was able to sustain such an insane pace for an entire season. However, Westbrook did just that, finishing the campaign with an average of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, he also bagged the scoring title that season — his second in three years. That in itself was the very bedrock of Westbrook’s MVP win.

On the other hand, a guy named James Harden was also doing amazing things for the Houston Rockets that same season. He did not average a triple-double (though he put up 29-8-11), but he was undeniably the player who brought the most value for his team that season. Dwight Howard had just parted ways with the Rockets the previous year, and this was before Chris Paul was in the picture. Harden led Houston to 55 wins playing alongside the likes of Ryan Anderson, Clint Capella, Eric Gordon, and Lou Williams. No other superstar on there, obviously.

In the end, Westbrook won the MVP race by a landslide. He received 69 first-place votes, with Harden finishing as a distant second with just 22 first-place votes.

Westbrook undoubtedly deserved the award that season. There’s just no denying that. However, if you take the triple-double average out of the picture (which you obviously can’t), it could be argued that Harden would have had a stronger case than he actually did. Would it have been enough to topple Westbrook for the crown, though? Probably not.

2017-18 Season (MVP: James Harden)

With Harden barely missing out on the title in the previous season, the Rockets superstar finally bagged the win the following season. While he did not average a triple-double, Harden was able to lead the league in scoring (30.4 points) for the first time in his career. More importantly, he led Houston to a very impressive 65-win season — the most single-season wins in franchise history. Not even the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Rockets achieved this feat.

As for Westbrook, the Thunder star averaged 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, a league-best 10.3 assists, and 1.8 steals. By averaging a triple-double for the second year running, he was able to better Robertson’s record, who himself was able to achieve the same for just one season.

OKC finished with 48 wins for fourth in the Western Conference, and while Westbrook had another great year, he had no chance to win back-to-back MVP trophies. He eventually finished fifth in the voting, behind Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Damian Lillard.

2018-19 Season (MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo)

Truth be told, Russell Westbrook wasn’t even close to entering the conversation this year. The only reason why we’re putting this on here is because of the fact that for his part, Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the third year running. It may have become mundane at that point, but there’s no denying that it was still an awe-inspiring feat.

That year, Westbrook put up 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists (he won the assists title for the second consecutive season), and 1.9 steals per ballgame. He saw a significant dip in his scoring due primarily because of the fact that he made the admirable decision to take a step back and let Paul George become the team’s number one option on offense (George’s scoring increased from 21.9 points the previous year to 28.0 in 2018-19).

For reasons unknown, Westbrook forgot how to shoot free-throws this season. His efficiency from the line dropped significantly, as he shot a career-low 65.6 percent from the line that year (he was a career 81.4-percent shooter from the stripe prior to that season). This undoubtedly had a significant effect on his already minute case for the MVP title.

Oh, and the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo had an insane year for the Milwaukee Bucks probably had a lot to do with that. In the end, Westbrook fished 10th in the MVP voting.

The post The number of MVPs Russell Westbrook should have right now appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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