We all know the case for Russell Westbrook as the league MVP. He’s averaging a triple-double and he just set the record for most triple-doubles in a season. This can also be a knock on Russ’s case for the MVP award. Let’s take a look at MVP candidate Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook is the first person to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson did it back during the 1961-62 season. He also broke Oscar’s record with 42 triple-doubles in a season. This is the go to number for anyone in the Westbrook camp. They don’t look at any other numbers because triple-doubles mean that much.
No matter the argument, Westbrook was hunting for those triple-doubles and his teammates were helping him. He leads the league in uncontested defensive rebounds with 628, the next person is DeAndre Jordan at 599. You’ve seen the videos of his teammates moving out the way for him to get a board. You saw him hunting to get a triple-double the other night against Phoenix. I’m not knocking him for it but you can’t sit back and say oh he’s just getting them naturally.
The triple-doubles are nice but his other numbers are even more important. He’s averaging a career high in points, rebounds and shooting a career high 34% from 3-point range. He has the NBA’s highest usage ever at 42%. He is knocking on the door for the NBA’s highest assist percentage as well with 57.3%. More importantly Westbrook has a career high in PER.
There are only nine players in NBA history to have a PER at 30 or better. Wilt, MJ, LeBron, Curry, David Robinson, Shaq, Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade and Anthony Davis. Russell Westbrook will be the 10th player on the list. He leads the league in PER which is a player efficiency rating. The league average is 15; Westbrook has doubled that.
The biggest case for Westbrook’s MVP campaign is the fact that Kevin Durant left to join the Warriors. Last season the Thunder won 55 games and this season Westbrook has them at 46 wins. That is pretty impressive after losing a former MVP and probably the second best player in the league. My favorite number for Westbrook’s case is 34.8. That is the amount of minutes per game he plays. He has this high usage and he averages a triple-double in under 35 minutes per game. It may seem like he’s playing 40+ minutes a game but he’s actually only played over 40 minutes just five times, all those games went into overtime and the Thunder were 4-1 in those games. Oh by the way he also leads the league in total points and points per game in the clutch (last five minutes of game in which the point differential is 5 or less).
Russell Westbrook is more than just a triple-double. He stepped his game up after Durant left, he gives his all every single game (hasn’t missed a game all season) and he comes up big in the clutch. The triple-doubles are just a nice touch on an amazing season.