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Russell Westbrook Is Taking The League By Storm

by Photo of Ankit Ahuja

Westbrook’s play puts him square in the MVP conversation. Can he keep up this torrid pace?

Russell Westbrook Is Taking The League By Storm

In this article…

Russell Westbrook is on another planet. After another triple-double last night, his fifth in his last six games, Westbrook has proven that he is clearly in a different stratosphere than any other player in the league.

The star point guard is playing the best basketball of his life for the Oklahoma City Thunder when they need the most. With his partner in crime Kevin Durant still out with a foot injury, Westbrook has taken the reigns of the team. Westbrook is doing stuff that nobody in the league outside of maybe LeBron James could do.

For the entire season, Westbrook is averaging 27.4 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.1 rebounds. That is astonishingly close to a triple double, something that hasn't been accomplished since Oscar Robertson in 1961-1962. Westbrook has always been one of the best players in the league, but he's truly emerged as one of the NBA's elite. 

Westbrook’s team has been in a weird position all year. Before the start of the year, OKC was given a shot in the chest when Kevin Durant broke his foot. At that time we knew the team would be handed over to Russell Westbrook.

Unfortunately for Westbrook, he hurt is hand in the second game of the season and missed 15 games. From that point, OKC has been fighting an uphill battle to get into the playoff race, and they currently are sitting in the 8th and final sport of the West.

A lot has been made that Westbrook cannot win the MVP because he has not played enough and OKC’s record is not good enough.

Although these arguments are completely valid, those should not be the reason Westbrook isn’t considered for MVP. Since the MVP was given out in 1957, the lowest winning percentage a team ranked was 9th. That occurred in 1982 when Moses Malone won the award for the Rockets. Currently, the Thunder are 12th in winning percentage. The Rockets were 46-36 that season, and OKC is currently 35-28. So to reach that mark, OKC would have to go 11-8 for the rest of the season.

That seems very possible as OKC has been 31-17 with Westbrook in the lineup. If Westbrook plays in every game from here on out, he will have appeared in 67 games. Although that number is not great compared to other competitors, look at what he has done in those games. He leads the league in scoring and has distributed the ball terrifically. Since the all-star break, no player has been even close to the brilliance Westbrook has demonstrated. In the nine games since the All-Star Game (where he took home the MVP honors with 41 points), he has averaged 34.3 PPG, 11.4 APG, and 10.2 RPG.

That is INSANE. He's doing all of this as Oklahoma City's point guard. It's hard to average those kinds of numbers in a video game. When you look at his statistical output and factor in Durant's injury, Westbrook's true value comes out. Durant has only played in 27 games this season. If Westbrook isn't doing what he's doing, are we even discussing the possibility of Oklahoma City as a playoff team? Unlikely.

You might think he will slow down, but it doesn’t look like he will. Nobody knows when Durant is coming back, and Westbrook is going all out in his absence. There has not been a better player since the All-Star break, and Westbrook is always going full throttle. Although Westbrook is not being considered a front runner for MVP, if he continues to put up these numbers and OKC continues to win, how can he not be? 

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