25 Mar Russell Westbrook For MVP?
Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs aren’t the only ones having an unbelievable season. Russell Westbrook is putting up ridiculous all-around numbers for the Oklahoma City Thunder and despite making a lot of noise in the scorebooks, it’s been hardly noticed.
Mr. Triple Double
Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for the entire season. Westbrook’s current averages of 23.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game is the closest comparison to Robertson. Like Robertson, Westbrook is known as Mr. Triple Double for his knack of racking up double digit stats in three different statistical categories. For the month of March alone, Westbrook’s had 6 total triple doubles, marking the third time in the last 40 years a player has had at least 6 triple doubles in one calendar month. Michael Jordan had 7 in April 1989 while Larry Bird had 6 in February 1986. With still five games left to play in March, Westbrook has a legitimate chance of taking that record.
Russell Westbrook with his 15th triple-double of the season: 11-11-13. That ties Michael Jordan's 15 in 1988-89, two off of Magic Johnson's.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 23, 2016
1989 was the season when Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan set the bar for triple doubles. L.A.’s magic man ended the season with an All-Time high of 17 while his Airness had two less at 15. Since then, nobody has come close, except last season when Westbrook went on a triple double tear that saw him lead the NBA with a total of 11. This season, even with Kevin Durant back in harness, Westbrook’s put up insane numbers with reckless abandon. As of this writing, Russ has tied M.J.’s 15 and is inching closer to Magic’s record. With the way he’s been playing and the fact that the Thunder will still face the #22nd and #24th rebounding teams in the Lakers and Clippers respectively, Westbrook’s got a good shot at at least tying the record with 11 games left to play.
Not The Individual Records
The thing with Russell Westbrook’s season isn’t just about breaking those individual statistical records. That’s because the Thunder are 15-0 in the games where Westbrook’s gotten a triple double. Only Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain had more consecutive wins with a triple double at 24 and 21 respectively.
Westbrook is third behind Stephen Curry (9.70) and Kawhi Leonard (9.26) in real plus/minus at 8.56. He’s also third behind Curry (31.98) and teammate Kevin Durant (27.99) in Player Efficiency Rating at 27.83. But that’s not it because while Curry leads the league in scoring at 30.1 PPG, it’s Westbrook who contributes more total points per game (from points scored and points assisted) to his team at 46.6 points per game. Now doesn’t that deserve a serious look from the MVP voters?
There is a lot of talk about Kevin Durant possibly leaving the Thunder in free agency. That may or may not happen, depending on how OKC finishes the season and how it performs in the postseason. Currently, the Thunder have the third best record in the West and fourth in the entire league. It’s almost improbable that they will move higher given what the Warriors and Spurs have done. That’s a given. But if we talk about the MVP race right now, it’s much much closer than everyone thinks. Stephen Curry isn’t the only one having a record breaking season. Russell Westbrook is recklessly raging a war against the history books too. And it certainly deserves serious MVP look.
RELATED IN THE SKYBOX…