Russell Westbrook absolutely dominated the NBA this past season. He broke the record for the most triple-doubles in a single season and led his Oklahoma City Thunder team to a playoff appearance nearly single handedly.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) June 27, 2017
This award came down to three players: Westbrook, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard. While LeBron James should have been in the conversation as well, that is whole other argument.
Harden had winning on his side. He led his team to a Western Conference semifinals while averaging 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. The downfall for Harden was his defensive problems. While Harden is nearly unguardable on the offensive side on the court, he is a defensive liability.
Leonard, aside from James, is likely the best two-way player in the league and this is what made his case so convincing. He locked down some of the best players in the league while averaging 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Drafted in 2011, Leonard is one of the best young talents in the league and will likely take the torch from James once his time in the NBA culminates. It is likely that at some point, Leonard will win an NBA MVP. This year, however, was not that year.
Westbrook simply put together too stellar of a season to ignore. On his way to totaling the most triple-doubles in a single NBA season, Westbrook finished averaging 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists. He joined Oscar Roberson as one of two NBA players to finish an entire season averaging a triple-double.
Considering Durant’s departure from Oklahoma City this past offseason to join the Golden State Warriors, any NBA fan has to be happy for Westbrook. A former best friend and teammate, Durant basically told Westbrook that he was not good enough to win a championship by leaving for the Warriors.
While the two have cleared things up to some extent, their friendship will never be what it was when they were playing on the court together.
Congrats Russell Westbrook, well deserved.