Russell Westbrook, in my opinion, is the best point guard in the NBA currently. He’s a guy who’s not afraid to take the ball and lead his team. Sure, sometimes these plans don’t work out and turnovers happen or shots are missed but the point is that Westbrook is never afraid to take the game into his own hands - he never backs down.
In the offseason we saw Kevin Durant sign for the Golden State Warriors, leaving Russell all alone in Oklahoma. The trade that brought Oladipo to Oklahoma gave the Thunder hope - a new, young shooting guard with the potential to be an All-Star some day, but still, Westbrook would now be alone to lead the Thunder.
So far this season, though, Westbrook has been superb for the Thunder and has led them to a 15W-11L record, leaving them 7th in the West, qualifying for a playoff spot.
Through these games, Westbrook has been superb with some amazing performances, including a 7-game stint where he recorded 7 triple-doubles in a row! I would put money on it that we’ll see Westbrook’s impressive performances continue on throughout the rest of the season.
Before I continue with why Westbrook will be the MVP this season though, there is one problem with his game that people constantly bring up - his turnover rate.
So far in the season Westbrook is recording 5.6 turnovers per game. This is a major problem but at the same time it shows Westbrook isn’t afraid to lead the team and take risks. Nobody is perfect though and I’m sure we’ll see his turnover rate reducing during the season as he works on this particular flaw more.
Back to the point of the article though: Here are five reasons why Russell Westbrook will win the MVP award this year.
This far in the season Westbrook has averaged 30.5ppg on a 42% field-goal percentage. We’re seeing him take more shots per game - on average he’s taking 24 shots a game and he’s making around 10 shots a game. They are impressive stats and even though there’s always room for improvement, he’s doing well and winning games with the Thunder.
He’s currently tied for the top spot in points per game with Anthony Davis and this is a stat we’ll probably see Westbrook stay consistent with for the rest of the season as Westbrook has always been a high scorer throughout his career.
The next thing we’re going to talk about is the assists he’s recording per game. Westbrook averages 10.6 assists per game, which is currently his career high average on assists. He shares the ball well with his teammates and helps them get good shots which in return leads to points on the board for the Thunder. Westbrook is currently second in the League for assists per game, sitting just behind former Thunder teammate - James Harden, who averages 11.7 assists per game.
This is the most assists Westbrook has averaged per game so far in his career and this just goes to show that his game has changed to do whatever it takes for his team to win - the trait of a true MVP candidate.
In my opinion, Westbrook is the best guard in the League to get you rebounds. Westbrook knows how to get the ball for you on a rebound and then can go on to run a play. Currently, Russ is averaging 10.5 rebounds per game - that’s more than some centers are averaging per game, Greg Monroe, Zaza Pachulia and Pau Gasol just to name a few.
Westbrook tops the pole for both point guards and shooting guards for rebounds per game - his closest competition being James Harden who averages 7.8 rebounds a game. Westbrook definitely takes the trophy on this part of the game.
Leading the Thunder and his unselfish play
As I said earlier, Westbrook has evolved his game to give others opportunities to take shots and is currently averaging 10.6 assists per game - the most of his career. This unselfish play is something that helps the teams chemistry overall and also makes fans around the world adore him. Yes, there is times when he goes ahead and takes his own shots even though it mightn’t be the best option but all great players need to take these shots - these shots make you great and put your name down in the history books.
As the great Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” Maybe this is where Westbrook gets his inspiration from but I want him to keep doing what he’s doing … bossing it on the court and taking charge.
Doesn’t get caught up in the ‘media world’
Westbrook has been asked by the media lots lately about the ‘KD move’ and what he thinks on KD joining the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in ‘The Bay’ but Westbrook simply said he has lost respect for Durant and that he looks forward to playing the Warriors so he can go out to try and beat them.
Westbrook also says he doesn’t care about the MVP award, he would love to win it obviously but he is always completely focused on the team winning games. Even in the past few days he has came out and said he doesn’t care about the triple-double stats, all he cares about is winning.
These reasons all contribute towards why I think Westbrook will win the MVP award this year.