What we all knew was going to happen, has happened. Russell Westbrook has been named the 2016-17 NBA Most Valuable Player on Monday night.
Westbrook’s season, which goes down as one of the best individual seasons in NBA history, was topped off on April 10 when Westbrook pulled down his 42nd triple-double of the season against the Denver Nuggets. On top of that, Westbrook’s season reached the pinnacle by also averaging a triple-double for the entire season. He finished by averaging 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. He surpassed Oscar Robertson is more ways than one. In Robertson’s triple-double season, it was Wilt Chamberlain who was the MVP that year. Chamberlain averaged a measly 50 points that season.
Westbrook, 28, turned into a force of nature once the departure of Kevin Durant was finalized. El Nino? No. More like El Westbrook. From coast-to-coast all season long, he destroyed back court defenses. He took opposing defense’s hopes and dreams, shattered them like his powerful dunks leave the arenas jaws dropped.
The star power Westbrook brought into every arena this season, home or away, can only be matched by a few players in the league. How many arenas boo when a home team fouls to prevent history? I cannot recall this happening to LeBron James or Stephen Curry. However, in Phoenix with Westbrook only two assists away, the crowd booed as the Phoenix Suns did not allow him to get the record that night.
This is a season we’ll sit back, tell our children about. We may never see another player average a triple-double in a season, let alone snag down 42 in a single season. Westbrook’s production was only topped by his love of the game and this city. When August 4 came, the Thunder and this city understood they had a special player on their hands. His rock star clothes down to his quick wit, reinvigorated a city that was crushed when Durant left.
Almost immediately on opening night. Westbrook’s heroics found Oklahoma City a win, while almost getting another triple-double. Westbrook missed out on a triple-double on a single rebound or assist seven different times. That’s nearly 50 triple-doubles. The Thunder needed every single one of them, too. While Westbrook is a supernova in the nebula, his ability to put this team on his back was unprecedented.
The Oklahoma City Thunder becomes only the eighth team in NBA history to have multiple MVP award winners. Westbrook’s rise to the MVP should be no surprise. There were flashes throughout his career of this greatness. His ability to attack the rim became his stallion instead of his Achilles.
In a league of superstars, Oklahoma City has been blessed with one that is truly city first. He speaks of loyalty and wears OKC proudly. His work in the community only tops his work on the hardwood. Oklahoma City is blessed to have a player like Westbrook in our community.
Westbrook beat out James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and James for the MVP.
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