Russell Westbrook is a usually genuine NBA MVP choice

The Thunder were down by 14 points to a Magic median by a fourth quarter. They had been down 21 in a third. This was also their third diversion in 4 nights.


They mislaid by 12 opposite a Rockets 3 days before, when Russell Westbrook scored 18 points in a fourth entertain and during one indicate brought his group to within 9 after a Thunder had been down by 20-plus. They kick a Mavericks a day after after being down by 13 points with 3:30 left in a game, and Westbrook scored 16 of a Thunder’s final 18 points. In a fourth entertain overtime opposite a Magic on Wednesday night, he scored 26 points.

Westbrook’s game-tying shot was an differently forward transition 3 over dual defenders with tiny seconds left on a clock. But he was hot. And no one else on that group deserved a excellence or weight of that shot some-more than him. The basket put him during 50 points. He would go on to have 57 total, the many points ever scored while recording a triple-double.


There’s an entrance in Kafka’s Blue Octavo Notebooks where he writes: “Atlas was available a opinion that he was during liberty, if he wished, to dump a Earth and stand away; though this opinion was all that he was permitted.”

The Thunder are 31-7 when Westbrook has a triple-double. They have usually won 43 games total. What he does — these consistently absurd performances that have to be reduced and boxed into a difficulty of “triple-double” to be some-more simply accepted — is unconditionally out of necessity.

The Thunder indispensable Westbrook to have a once-in-a-generation season, differently they would be lost. They indispensable him to measure 19 points in a fourth, or they would have mislaid to a Magic. They indispensable him to be their be-all and end-all, since that is a usually approach that they can survive, many reduction thrive.

Inflated miscarry numbers be damned — this is not a box of stats padding. Westbrook could really good do less, though he would do so meaningful that his group would some-more expected lose. He could prove a critics and safety himself by alleviation his weight of carrying a team, though he would be intentionally putting a Thunder in a exposed position. For someone who wants to win any game, that is not an option, not even in overtime during his third diversion in 4 days.

Westbrook does not have dull triple-doubles, he has “I will drag us as distant as we can” triple-doubles.

This bid opposite a Magic creates a appropriate that a Rockets took during his deteriorate seem even sillier.

There is zero bad that can be pronounced about James Harden, and there’s no need to scold him in preference of Westbrook. He is carrying a illusory deteriorate of his own, and if he wins MVP, he would merit it. Harden has finished wonders for a Rockets while lifting his play to implausible and variable levels. Anyone who besmirches someone to regard another lacks a clever argument, and is substantially usually a hater.

But we’ve gotten to a indicate in a MVP evidence where Westbrook is overlooked since he’s not as fit as Harden, because he’s not a playmaker in a Mike D’Antoni offense, since of a tiny commission disproportion — 3 percent — in uncontested rebounds.

We’re also during a indicate where certain stats about how any team’s offense performs though a dual MVP possibilities on a court, and how many any actor raises his team’s play when they do come in a game, are being abandoned for divergent reasons — where modernized statistics are no longer being used to illuminate, though rather to rinse divided consternation and pull an bulletin of expertise.

When a actor is averaging a triple-double for a deteriorate — something that has usually been finished once before, in a joining that has had a likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James — and a attainment is discharged as dull numbers, afterwards there’s a problem. When an evidence opposite Westbrook is that a Thunder — who should practically be chasing a eighth or seventh seed, and not a fourth — are not one of a tip dual teams in a league, afterwards there’s a huge problem. And that problem is not Russell Westbrook.

Just as we do not decider a fish by a ability to stand a tree, Westbrook should not be judged by a standards of Harden. Just as Harden should not be judged on a merits of Kawhi Leonard. And Leonard on LeBron James. They are not a same kinds of players, and they are not doing a same things. Harden is heading a resurgent group that is designed to take high peculiarity shots, and he’s doing so during an rare level.

Westbrook is not perfect, and he could positively be some-more efficient, though he is also being asked to be an whole offense on his own. He is being asked to be a savior. It’s a purpose that fits him as many as being a talent monitor fits Harden. The savior purpose indulges Westbrook’s ego and daring attitude. He’s also one of a few players who can hoop a team’s failures precisely on his shoulders. The same reason since he takes transition threes over dual defenders is a same reason he is ideal for this Thunder team: Westbrook fantastically believes he can do it all. He’s so assured that he can, that a thought and fear of disaster doesn’t seem to register for him.

The thesis of a Thunder this deteriorate has been a elementary and obligatory plea: “Westbrook, greatfully save us.” That’s how it was opposite a Rockets, a Mavericks, and a Magic. When other players would sneer during carrying to empty himself any diversion usually to give his group a possibility during winning, Westbrook embraces a challenge. He entered this conditions though Durant, though Serge Ibaka, with usually an outward possibility of creation a playoffs — either down 20-plus points, 13 points with 3 mins left, or 14 points in a fourth — and asked since not? Why not a Thunder? And generally since not him?

Oklahoma City Thunder v Charlotte Hornets

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Westbrook is not James Harden. He doesn’t have to be.

He is Russell Westbrook, and he is doing things this deteriorate that should usually be probable in Japanese anime. There is no need to do mental and methodical gymnastics to reason yourself out of a consternation of his season. He has scored a many points ever in a triple-double, and he has gone ideal from a margin in another one. He has snatched feat divided from other teams by perfect will, as he did opposite a Mavericks and Magic, and opposite a Grizzlies when he scored 15 points with 2:35 left to play. He has finished that and so many more, so that any Thunder diversion is a must-watch usually to see what he comes adult with next.

That is his box for MVP. The usually reason that a Thunder are in a playoffs — since they’re even a theme of contention — is that Westbrook refused to let them tumble apart. If he should win MVP, and he deserves it as many as Harden does, it is since he’s peaceful and able of carrying a once in a lifetime deteriorate — full of absurd numbers, cracked records, and unthinkable comebacks — to pull himself and his group as distant as they’ll go. That is something to be rewarded, not disparaged.


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