When Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer many experts expected the team to fall out of the Western Conference playoff picture the following season because Durant was such a huge part of the team and Oklahoma City would need time to rebuild after his departure. Apparently, they thought Russell Westbrook would just fall off the map and that he wasn’t good enough to lead a team. Westbrook proved his critics wrong during the 2016-17 NBA season by stepping up and leading not only his team but also the NBA in scoring as well as making history with a Triple Double season according to ESPN.
Last year Mark Cuban even went as far to say that Russell Westbrook is not a superstar. Well, with less than a week left in the regular season, the Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting in sixth place in the highly competitive NBA Western Conference with a 45-34 record. Westbrook has put his team on his back on the way to an absolutely historic season, becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1962 to average a triple-double for the season. That’s a pretty spectacular feat for someone who isn’t a superstar.
Russell Westbrook has been in basically a two-man race for NBA MVP with James Harden all season long. There are some other candidates like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard that may get a few votes but ultimately it comes down to Harden and Westbrook. When Westbrook got his sixth assist last night against the Phoenix Suns to become only the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double, he pretty much sealed the deal and closed the conversation on who should win the MVP this season. Instead of letting his team regress after the Kevin Durant saga, he kept them in contention and are now a playoff-bound organization.
Oklahoma City Thunder fans have reason to celebrate because not only is Russell Westbrook taking the entire league by storm but he also signed a contract extension guaranteeing he will be around to lead this franchise at least for a few more years. What Westbrook is doing as a 6-foot-3-inch point guard is pretty absurd when you step back and take a look at it. Not only is he averaging a triple-double but he is also leading the NBA in scoring. He’s grabbing more rebounds than quite a few starting NBA centers which is an absolutely amazing feat in its own right.
Russell Westbrook is the MVP hands down and it should not even be that close. The record for most triple-doubles in a season is currently 41, which Westbrook has already tied. He has three games left on the NBA schedule to break that record and chances are very high that he does. When asked about the triple-double season and his individual accomplishments Westbrook had this to say:
“I could never say in a million years that I would ever think that was even possible. For me to do it, it’s extremely a blessing. It’s something that I’m honored to be able to do, especially in this game today, at the highest level. It’s a blessing. I’m just very thankful and happy to be able to do it. My main goal since I got here, especially this season, is to win a championship. That’s what my goal is. As a leader of this team, I’ve got to make sure this team is moving in the right direction and I’m playing the way I need to play to make sure we’re playing the best basketball we need to play.”
Russell Westbrook’s historic season has definitely been something to behold and even the casual basketball fan has taken notice. He is already fourth all-time in career triple doubles with 78 tied with the great Wilt Chamberlain and that number is only going to continue to grow. The playoffs should be really entertaining this year with the way Westbrook is playing and he will not stop until the Oklahoma City Thunder are world champions. That moment could come sooner rather than later and there is nothing the NBA can do to stop it.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]