Ford Watkins, Staff Writer
You know you’re a good basketball player when the opposing team’s crowd erupts after you notch your 33rd triple-double. This season. You also know you’re a good player when you had more triple-doubles than all the Western Conference’s All-Star starters combined. You know you’re a good person when you could go anywhere for more money, or a championship, but you decide to stay where people genuinely love you. You know you’re a competitive person when you decide to cease speaking with your former teammate and dynamic duo member. A good player, person, and a competitor. How could you not give him the MVP?
Russell Westbrook is the new crop of the vintage players. He does it all. In the days before role players, we had 6’5+ point guards who rebounded the ball. I know, it’s hard to believe. Before we had 7-foot European centers who could handle the ball and shoot deep, though, we had the fast point guard who dealt the ball and occasionally shot.
Russell Westbrook is not either of those players. Rather, he is both of those players and more. Russell Westbrook makes a MVP case for himself every single game. However, he is a hard player to completely decipher. Most people look at that like it’s a detriment to his game, but I think it’s the contrary.
Russell Westbrook has dazzling statistics. 32 points/game, 10 assists/game, and 10.5 rebounds/game. No other player besides Hall of Fame member Oscar Robertson has managed to average a triple-double through the end of the season. The stats alone should give Russell the definite MVP, right? Not exactly.
Russell’s competition is heavy. 5’9” Boston Celtics leader Isaiah Thomas was good last year, but has completely blown away the expectations of NBA Fans. Kawhi Leonard, Spurs’ forward, has (not quite), but almost single-handedly put his team at the top of the Western Conference. James Harden is an absolutely electrifying playmaker, then again so is Russell. Finally, LeBron James, who we all know.
Russell’s competition is not an easy one to edge out at the finish line, yet he seems to be doing it. Remember when I listed his stats? In actuality, that’s just a fraction of MVP credibility for Russell. The way he plays basketball is so rare, everyone is looking back in time to relate it to something. But you really can’t. Nobody is less scared to go up against a 7-footer for a rebound, dribble it 80 feet down the court, and finish it with three opposing teammates. This, in itself, is unheard of.
It’s not even that. It’s the way he makes those plays. I’ve never seen an NBA player comport himself as both a workhorse and an effortless playmaker.
When it all boils down, Russell Westbrook has to have the MVP. There are too many layers to his game. There are too many layers to his plays. There are too many layers to his stellar basketball IQ. No other player works so hard at making things look easy. Give the MVP to Russell Westbrook.