The NBA MVP: is it the best player on the best team, or the most valuable player to his team? That is the big question when it comes to the MVP. The race is very close right now, with LeBron, Harden, and Russ all trading the top spot week to week, but to me Russell is hands down, the MVP this season, even if the Thunder remain as the 6th seed.
Here’s 3 reasons why:
3. He’s the Lone Superstar on the Thunder
Think about it; nearly every other playoff team has an incredible line-up featuring at least two NBA superstars. The Warriors, the Spurs, the Cavs, the Clippers, the Wizards, the Celtics ect.
The Thunder don’t have that second star. Victor Oladipo has missed several games due to injury, and his 16 ppg hasn’t been enough to ease the load on Russell’s shoulders. Just a few weeks ago Westbrook had a career-high 58 points against the Trail Blazers and it still wasn’t enough to get the win.
Basically all of the offense is run through Russ. Steven Adams isn’t a great offensive player, but he gets a lot of looks on the pick-and-roll due to Westbrook. The same could be said for Enes Kanter, although he is better on the offensive end than Steven Adams.
The Thunder did increase their depth with Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, but Russell Westbrook remains their lone NBA superstar on the roster.
2. Their Schedule has Been Tough
The Thunder haven’t had an easy road to the playoffs by any means. They’ve had one of the toughest schedules in the NBA, much tougher than the 5 teams in front of them in the West. They’ve had the 3rd toughest schedule in the league, ranking way ahead of the Warriors (19) and the Spurs (21).
Despite a grueling schedule, and a lack of support, Russell has powered the Thunder through and they are now making a run for that 5th seed in the West.
1. He’s Making History
Russell Westbrook is about to do something that no one ever thought would be done again. Like Wilt’s 100 point game, nobody thought that Oscar Robertson’s triple-double season would ever be seen again. Yet, here Russell Westbrook is, averaging a triple-double 71 games into the season, in possibly the most competitive era in NBA History.
Not to downplay what Oscar did, but the 60’s weren’t exactly the peak of the NBA. There were 8 teams in the league, and the Bill Russell’s Celtics won every year. The league wasn’t saturated with talent like it is today.
Westbrook is doing this in an era filled to the brim with talent. 30 teams, who on any given night, could beat anyone. What Russ is doing is something special, something that we may never see again in our lifetimes. For this reason, and this reason alone, Westbrook deserves the MVP.