The NBA season has come to a close and the playoffs is soon to begin. The season was filled with excitement and disappointment, but it was mainly capped off between the MVP race with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Houston Rockets guard James Harden. Both players are respectively leading their teams to the playoffs and have been the league leaders in offensive efficiency. The MVP award is going to be between these two players, and it should be because of the outstanding season they have produced.
Looking at the stats, Westbrook leads the whole league in scoring averaging 32 points per game, but not only that, he is the only player to average a triple double which is an accomplishment that hasn’t been done in 50 years which was done by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. His statline of 32 ppg, 10.4 apg and 10.7 rpg is very worthy of the MVP award. Now looking at James Harden, he averages 29 ppg 11.2 apg and 8.1 rpg. The numbers are close to Westbrooks and both players have made them one of the best scoring players in the NBA. Both players shoot around 35% from three-point range and shoot 44% from the field. They are reliable free-throw shooters and have become one of the best clutch players in the 4th quarter. They are always guarded by opposing team’s best defensive player and teams are always highlighting them in their game plans. Harden and Westbrook are always capable of scoring 50+ points, and will get hot in any game if not defended well.
From a team standpoint, Harden have a better supporting cast than Westbrook, Harden have players such as, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Ryan Anderson and Clint Capela; who are able to take over a game if Harden have an off night. For Westbrook, the next best players for the Thunder would be Steven Adams, Victor Olidipo, and Enes Kanter. If you take both Harden and Westbrook off their respective teams, The Thunder would achieve less than 20 wins, no disrespect to the players the Thunder have, but there is no one on the roster that can carry them like Westbrook has done all year. Harden off the Rockets, they would probably not be a 3rd seed in their conference but they would still be a team fighting for a playoff spot.
Russell Westbrook leads the NBA with 42 triple doubles beating Oscar Robertson’s single season record of 41.. Harden is second in the league with 21 triple doubles, which is half Westbrooks amount. Westbrook has broken records that hasn’t been touched in half a century. Harden has played outstanding especially in the role of point guard, but the play Westbrook gives every game is nothing comparable to Harden. Harden is a defensive liability, while Westbrook plays at both ends efficiently. If I had a vote for the NBA MVP award, I would vote for Russell Westbrook because his season this year has been historic and he proves to the NBA audience that the Thunder are completely nothing without him.