NBA MVP Watch: Russell Westbrook
This NBA season was set up to be a now or never season for lots of teams, for a variety of different reasons. Can LeBron James bring glory back to the Lakers? Can Boston incorporate Gordon Hayward & Kyrie Irving back into their start playoff team? Can the 76ers add another start to compliment Embiid & Simmons? But one of the biggest questions is that now Oklahoma City resigned Paul George, can they finish better than a first-round playoff exit? More specifically - the extension of that question is, can Westbrook bring the Thunder back to being deep in the playoffs.
Westbrook's season started off rocky as he missed the first 8 games of the season due to injury, and it took a while for him to seem to get his groove back. But through the 17 games he has played, he is currently averaging a triple double - 22.1 PTS, 10.6 REB & 10.2 AST, and is currently the only player to be doing so this season. To put this in perspective, in Westbrook's 2016-2017 MVP season he was averaging 23.5 PTS, 7.8 RED & 10.4 AST.
The other key to an MVP season is team success. History has shown that the MVP's team usually has had success - making playoffs, conference finals or the finals (for example last season James Harden wins the MVP and the Rockets make the Western Conference Finals), and team success has started to come to the Thunder. OKC are currently in 2nd, only behind the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, and have a record of 17-8. This will be a key deciding factor when the MVP consideration begins towards the end of the season.
If Westbrooks numbers stay where they are at, and OKC finish in the top 4 of the Western Conference, Russell Westbrook has to be in the conversation for MVP.
estbrook will be looking to lead his team deep into the playoffs, and you can see the intensity in the way he is playing this season that he wants it more than ever.