After much speculation throughout the playoffs and the off-season, Russell Westbrook was awarded the Most Valuable Player award on Monday night. There was a total of three front runners for the award. The other two were Western Conference rivals Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden. All three of the nominees were well deserving of the award, but Westbrook was a step ahead of the pack.
A lot of the focus went into the head-to-head matchup between former teammates Westbrook and Harden. Both of these guys had historical seasons, but which one was more valuable to their team? While a lot of people assumed the award was going to Westbrook, no one could be for sure until it was announced. No one knew which had more value in the eyes of the voters. Would it be the historical triple-doubles and multiple game winners, or would it be the guy who had the better overall team record. In the end, the Brodie’s stats and his will to win ultimately won the award for him.
Westbrook filled the stat sheet over and over again last season. An overlooked stat was the efficiency of Westbrook during the fourth quarter. In fact, he ranked #1 in clutch time performance. With less than 5 minutes remaining in the game, and with less than a 5 point score differential, Russ was by far the best. His MVP opponent James Harden, was ranked #10 in this category.
In “clutch time”, Russ scored 247 points. That is 24 points higher than his nearest competition in Isaiah Thomas, who had 223. He shot 45% from the field, and 33% from beyond the arc. He also assisted on 61% of the points scored during this time.
Russell Westbrook’s season is arguably the greatest of all time. The Brodie finished the season with 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game. He is only the second player to average a triple-double throughout an entire season. Westbrook single handedly won games on his own, and hit some amazing shots in the process.
Averaging a triple-double wasn’t the only record that the Brodie accomplished this season. He also had the highest ever usage rating at 41.7%. His 31.6 points per game is the highest for an MVP since the 1988 season. He also earned the most assists per game for an MVP since 1990, and the most rebounds per game since 2004.
Let’s take a look at the top plays from the Brodie this season:
And, in case you forgot, his 42nd triple-double highlights:
The Oklahoma City Thunder landed perhaps one of the greatest players of this generation when they drafted Russell Westbrook nine years ago. The people and fans of Oklahoma City should be truly grateful for what he has done. There is a lot to be said about loyalty. After the trades that went down in the previous weeks, Westbrook is the only lottery pick from the 2008 draft still on his original team. Westbrook represents Oklahoma very well, and for that, we are thankful!
It was only a matter of time before he got his own…
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.