Russell Westbrook MVP chants have already begun from Oklahoma City Thunder fans. The Westbrook MVP talk has been subdued because of how successful Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have been this season, but many NBA analysts are taking notice of what Westbrook has done lately. On Tuesday, March 22, the Oklahoma City Thunder hosted the Houston Rockets. On the way to a 111-107 victory for OKC, Westbrook notched his sixth triple-double in the month of March alone.
In just under 37 minutes of play, Russell Westbrook notched 21 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds against the Rockets. It became the fifth time Westbrook has had a triple-double with at least 15 assists this season, while the rest of the NBA has only achieved 15 assists in four games total. In total, Westbrook has 12 games with at least 15 assists this year, three consecutive games with a triple-double, and 15 triple-doubles for the 2015-16 NBA season. The stats have been remarkable for Westbrook, who also won the NBA All-Star Game MVP back in February.
In 71 games this season, Russell Westbrook is now averaging 23.7 points, 10.5 assists, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. The rebounding, assist, and defensive numbers are the best of his career, while his scoring average doesn’t quite match the 28.1 points per game he had in the 2014-15 NBA season. With Kevin Durant missing a lot of action, Westbrook ended up leading the NBA in scoring for the first time in his career. He is taking about four fewer shots per game this season, but he has seen a heavy increase in his number of assists.
So is it too late for Russell Westbrook to make a push for the 2015-16 NBA MVP Award? During the month of March, Westbrook is averaging 20.6 points, 11.3 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game. Those averages have certainly helped him pass Damian Lillard and the hot start to the second half that the point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers had. But is it all enough to catch up with Stephen Curry and the numbers he is putting up for the defending NBA champions?
Through 67 games this season, Curry is averaging 30.1 points, 6.6 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. He is also averaging 5.1 made three-pointers a night, breaking his own record for long-range shots from a year ago. Curry has 14 double-doubles and two triple-doubles to his credit this year, while being the main catalyst behind the 63-7 record that the Golden State Warriors possess. The Warriors will very likely finish with the best record in the Western Conference and enter the NBA Playoffs with home court advantage through the postseason.
The Oklahoma City Thunder clinched first place in the Northwest Division and currently boast a 49-22 record. The team will likely enter the NBA Playoffs as a third seed in the West, avoiding a potential match-up with the Warriors until the conference finals. The MVP discussion is only based on regular season statistics, though, with the votes getting submitted right before the playoffs get started. The big question becomes whether Russell Westbrook can keep up this momentum down the stretch and get enough playing time to improve his numbers even further.
So exactly what would be enough for Westbrook to win the NBA MVP Award? He has 48 double-doubles on the season to go along with 15 triple-doubles and has better statistics than Curry in everything but scoring average. There are a number of team metrics that could come into play during the MVP debate, including how many points the Warriors average and how many double-digit victories the team has had on the way to 70+ wins. With just about three weeks left in the regular season, there is certainly enough time left for Russell Westbrook to force the NBA MVP voters to think twice when submitting ballots.
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