With the NBA regular season having ended yesterday and the playoffs starting up on Saturday nothing more can be added to what has been an amazing and raucous race for the #Nba Mvp award. That being said, I believe that #Russell Westbrook should come out on top over his fellow MVP competitors James Harden, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard for his historic season that no one would have anticipated back in October.
A walking triple-double
This season, Russell Westbrook led the way in the triple-double explosion.
He joined Oscar Robertson as the only other player to average a triple-double, putting up 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds. He also broke Robertson's record for triple-doubles in a season by dropping 42. Westbrook accomplished all of this despite playing 9.7 fewer minutes per game than Robertson did.
Westbrook had four games in which he got a triple-double in less than 30 minutes of play, something no one has done more than 3 times in a career starting with the 1951-52 season. He had the first "perfect' triple-double" in NBA history. He had the most points ever while notching one (57). He had a 22 assist one as well -- the third most assists ever with a triple-double. He had 8 40-point and 3 50-point TD's, the most ever in one season.
Westbrook also had two 7 game streaks with a TD -- the only player to do that in NBA history.
Efficiency, usage rate, and other stats
Russell Westbrook finished this season with his second scoring title, the third most assists in the NBA, the tenth most rebounds, and the twelfth most steals, with 1.63 per game. He also had 62 double-doubles this season, tied for the second most in the NBA. This season he set a career high in points and rebounds per game, while tying his career high in assists per game from last season. He also broke the Thunder records for points and assists in a game.
Westbrook literally carried the load for his team this season, as his usage rate was 41.8%, the highest in NBA history and 3 points higher than Kobe Bryant's 2005-06 season. Despite his high usage Westbrook still shot 42.5 from the field and actually shot a career-best 34.3% on 3-pointers and 84.5% on free throws.
I also went over to Pro Basketball Reference to cite some advanced stats on Westbrook. His box plus/minus this season was 15.5, the highest ever recorded.
His offensive box plus/minus was 10.9, only behind Steph Curry's 2015-16 season. His value over replacement player (VORP) was 12.4, the best ever. All three of these stats go back to the 1973-74 season. His assist percentage was 57.3, the third best ever only behind John Stockton. His player efficiency (PER) rating was 30.6, the 16th best ever. The assist percentage stats goes back to the 1964-65 season, while PER goes back to the 1951-52 season.
His performance carried his team
This season the Thunder finished 47-35 (.573%) and sixth in the more top-heavy Western Conference. While that is eight wins less than the team had the previous year, one must consider that they lost MVP Kevin Durant in free agency and traded starter Serge Ibaka to the Magic. Russell Westbrook even helped to lead the Thumder to their largest comeback ever, by overcoming a 21 point deficit against the Magic. When Westbrook had a TD, his team was 33-9 (.785%) and when he did not they were 14-26 (.350%). The Thunder literally relied on Westbrook to be a 47 win playoff team and not a Western Conference bottom-feeder. Russell has my vote for NBA MVP -- as well as Oscar Robertson's.
Oscar Robertson says Russell Westbrook should be MVP pic.twitter.com/CrIj1p5SF4— Coast2CoastHoops (@BCNCoast2Coast) April 13, 2017