Russell Westbrook has done it all this season; and when I say, “it all” I mean, it all. Last night he broke a 55 year-old record, recording his 42nd triple-double of the season. Not only that, but he scored 50 points, leading the Thunder’s comeback and finishing it with a 36-foot game winner. Even after last nights phenomenal performance, and countless others, people still find a way to discredit Westbrook. That’s why I think it’s time to change what it means to be an MVP in the NBA.
MVP… By the very definition, it’s the player who is most valuable to their team, right? Wrong. Somewhere along the lines, the meaning of the MVP changed. In today’s NBA, it isn’t the most valuable player, it’s often the best player on the best team. In most cases they factor in team wins, more than the players performance.
The MVP is awarding an individual player, so why are wins the main factor? If you make the playoffs, whether you are the 8 seed, or the 1 seed, you should be able to win the MVP. An example I often use is the 2015 MVP race.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 65-win season, averaging 24 ppg, and nearly 8 apg. Solid numbers, no question, but were they MVP numbers? Klay Thompson averaged 22 ppg that season, just a basket behind Curry. No doubt Klay had just as much to do with the Warriors winning as Curry did.
James Harden had a monster season that year, averaging 27 ppg, 7 apg, and 6 rpg. Not only did he put up superior averages, but he also led a significantly worse supporting cast to the 2 seed in the West. Dwight Howard, the second best player on the team, only played half of the season due to injury, and that left Harden with Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza, Josh Smith, and Patrick Beverly…
Harden was the clear cut MVP that season because he was the Most Valuable Player to his team. You take Harden off that team, and they probably don’t even make the playoffs let alone secure the 2 seed! Yet they gave it to Curry because the Warriors had more wins. Even though Curry’s supporting cast was better than any in the league. Was Curry more valuable than Harden?
Harden was robbed in 2015, and this year it looks very possible that the same will happen to Westbrook, despite his historic season. He’s averaged a triple-double, broke a 55 year old record, leads the league in clutch scoring, and he’s done all this with one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the league.
Houston on the other hand, is full of shooters. In fact, they lead the league in 3 point shooting. This opens the whole floor for Harden, and makes it very easy for him to rack up assists. Harden’s been crazy good this season, don’t get me wrong, but he hasn’t been Westbrook.
The fact that people are even considering Harden for MVP blows my mind, and it shows how pointless the award has become. I’ve seen Kobe, LeBron, and so many other players get robbed over the years. This season, it’s time that the NBA gets it right. Give the MVP to the most valuable player, not the best player on one of the best teams.