Russell Westbrook lost one of his best friends and teammates, Kevin Durant, to the Golden State Warriors before the 2016-17 NBA season. Anybody who suspected anything less than what Westbrook has done as the only star player for the Thunder this season needs to rethink how they look at the NBA.
Westbrook has earned the title of triple-double king and should add MVP to his resume shortly.
Blame it on the loss of Durant or the burning desire of a competitive athlete, Westbrook has poured his mind, body and soul into this season.
And that has been proven on at least 41 occasions during this season, while making history is something that has locked up the prestigious MVP award for Westbrook.
The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard is already only the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double in a season. He has also become the only player to have at least 42 triple-doubles in a season. The latter being one of the most impressive performances that basketball fans will ever witness in a season.
Oscar Robertson‘s 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62 showed just how dominant of a legend he was, and his record looked at as one of the most difficult to break. During that season, Robertson logged 3503 minutes for the Cincinnati Royals on his way to the former NBA record.
“For what Oscar Robertson did back in the ’60s, for that to stand as long as it has, I think really shows how difficult something like that is,” Donovan said. “And I think for Russell, he’s a unique talent that he gets an opportunity every night because of his ability to impact the game in a lot of different ways,” via Associated Press.
Then along came Westbrook in 2016-17, with all of his facial distortions and dynamic competitiveness, hellbent on carrying the Thunder on his back and reaching the NBA playoffs. The road to a record 42 triple-doubles in a season has come with much scrutiny, but Westbrook shrugs it off.
Breaking Down the Numbers
- Robertson averaged over 40 minutes per game, while Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in roughly 34.8 minutes per game.
- The Thunder have a .780 win percentage when Westbrook has a triple-double, .342 when he doesn’t (via ESPN).
- The Cincinnati Royals had a record of 43-37 in 1961-62, the Thunder are 45-35 with two games left (following Sunday’s game with the Nuggets).
The last point mentioned in the numbers might be the biggest argument for Westbrook. Naysayers have spouted off that Westbrook doesn’t deserve the MVP because his team is the No. 6 seed (officially clinched). While Robertson didn’t win the MVP during 1961-62, the talent level in which Westbrook has faced is miles ahead of what Robertson faced.
As a basketball fan, sit back and relish in the fact that NBA history has been made of a record that was thought to never be broken.
To the NBA, go ahead and crown Westbrook as the 2016-17 MVP as it is well-deserved.
Watch: Russell Westbrook’s 2017 Highlights