NBA MVP Race
A cynical analysis of the NBA MVP Race. One of the few you’ll read who isn’t in love with Russell Westbrook’s Triple Doubles.
And the crowd goes wild for another Russell Westbrook triple double! Does it mean he deserves the MVP though?
This year’s award will be fought between Brodie and the Beard. Russell Westbrook and James Harden once teammates in Oklahoma City now square off in one of the most hotly contested MVP races in recent history.
There’s no arguing that what we’ve seen from Russell Westbrook during the 2016/2017 NBA season has been nothing short of historic and phenomenal. Westbrook recently broke Oscar Robertson’s triple double record, which stood from 1961-62. Westbrook’s current numbers are totalled at 31.9 ppg, 10.4 apg, 10.7 rpg.
I’ll spoil the surprise here and now. Keep reading and you may well find some reasons why your boy Brodie isn’t as deserving of the NBA MVP as you and the triple double connoisseurs might think.
If after reading this article you still think Westbrook deserves the MVP I’d gamble that you’re also the type of supporter who yells at the TV everytime your team plays saying “The refs are costing us the game, they’re deadest rooting for the other mob” you bias fanatic!
Westbrook is the first player since 1962 to average a triple double. How did he do it though? Well, for starters he destroyed the record for the highest useage rate, set by Kobe in 2006. Westbrook is set to table a 42.5% useage rate, meaning 42.5% of OKC possessions ended with a Westbrook shot attempt, turnover of free throw attempt. That is insane! His opponent, Harden is posting a 29.1 ppg, 11.2 apg, 8.1 rpg with a useage rate sitting at around 35%. Harden has undoubtedly been more efficient that Westbrook in this area and if he had the same useage rate would surpass Westbrook’s numbers.
But Nik, He’s going to average a triple double Season! Well, that’ll probably be true, but not all triple doubles are created equal. Game after game we see Thunder players foregoing rebounds so Westbrook can get the board in order to push the pace. Considering this happens a couple of times per game, subtracting those uncompetitive boards will basically mean he doesn’t average a triple double.
Fun Fact: Oscar Robertson recorded a triple double season in 1961-62 and his team finished 4th of 9 teams in the league. He also didn’t receive the MVP award.
What exactly constitutes an MVP though? People think they know, but do they really? Regardless, not knowing exactly what aspect should be the most important leads to these types of conversations every year.
One thing is for sure, the less clarity we have what exactly should be the most important aspect the more fun discussions of who is most deserving we’ll have.
Unfortunately, I know my opinion on this award has been tainted somewhat. I agree that in a simple world looking at the quality of play on the court should dictate who wins the award. However, really diving into the impact that a LeBron James has, who lures free agents, coaches the team in some way, brings in millions of dollars in marketing and TV revenue has on a franchise goes beyond the rebound numbers and assist totals that you see from a box score.
Ask yourself, if you were running a franchise would you trade [insert player name] for LeBron James? I know I would every single time.
By Nik Hatzi