Does Russell Deserve the MVP? Is he really the MVP?
The first ever NBA awards show aired Monday, June 27th, and it was rather different. The show was hosted by Drake and it was filled with skits that seemed like SNL throwaways (sports edition). The highlight of the show was at the end, when they announced the winner of the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, which was indeed Oklahoma City Thunder's PG, Russell Westbrook. After the debates of who should win the award were finally put to rest, the question of "does he deserve it?" surfaces. Westbrook who averaged a triple-double, and also broke the record for the most triple-doubles in one season, had such an astounding year and, yes, he did do things that put NBA fans (including myself) in awe. Russell no doubt had an amazing season, and he had an amazing and heart felt speech, but is he the actual Most Valuable Player? He is valuable to the Thunder, that is not even a question, but I do not believe that Westbrook is by definition the MVP. The book definition of MVP is "The player who contributes to his or her teams success" (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/most%20valuable%20player.)
Did Westbrook contribute to his teams success? He did indeed. He was a reason for some victories throughout the 82 game season, and was a huge factor for the team finishing at the 6th seed. Is it the fact that he contributed to his teams success the reason he won this award? No, Westbrook won this award for one reason and one reason only, it is the fact that he had amazing season breaking records and racking up stats. No disrespect to Russell, he is by far one of my favorite players in the league, but his triple doubles did not help his 6th seed team during the first round (which they did not make it out of). Of course I understand that he did everything he could during the games to help them win, and I do agree they need some other players to support him, but in reality, he does not hold as much value to his team as the real Most Valuable Player, Lebron James. Russell has amazing value to his team, but the player with the MOST value to their team, is in fact the King himself, but what is the fun in giving him the award every year? Which is why Russell won the award, but I do believe Westbrook had the most outstanding season, which is what the MVP award has turned into, a reward for the best season stats wise, it is not based off team success, and how that player contributed, No, it is simply based off an individuals success. In my opinion, he was very deserving of the award by the current NBA standards, but the real MVP of the league, is Lebron James. I understand that most argue Russell has no help and is the only actual star on that team, and yes I agree he needs help, and his value to the team is very large. The counter-argument is that although the Thunder need Westbrook, they can function when he is off the floor, the Cavaliers have serious trouble running an offense when Lebron James is off the floor, as his plus/minus for on and off the court is -16, which is by far the lowest in the league. The overall impact that Russell has on his team may be large, but he does not have as great an impact as Lebron James has on the Cavaliers. I am huge Westbrook fan, I am more than happy that he won the award, and I agree that he deserves this award, but let us not get too caught up in stats and let us all realize who the real MVP is.