The Curious Case of Russell Westbrook

My blog at NBA.com Philippines
The Curious Case of Russell Westbrook
joey villar

Photo: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook gestures after a basket in overtime of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Oklahoma City won 123-118. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Let’s play a game.

Let’s say today is the final day of balloting for this NBA season’s Most Valuable Player and all of us will be asked to cast our vote.

You might vote Anthony Davis, who is also deserving, with averages of 23.9 points on a super efficient percentages of 54.4 from the field and 83.1 from the free throw line, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Actual game or fantasy, Davis is a stud.

So go ahead and vote for him.

***

For sure, Stephen Curry will draw most of your votes.

Like the Unibrow, he deserves it having normed 23.9 points on 3.3 made triples and percentages of 44.7 (field goal) and 86.6 (free throw), 8.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and two steals an outing.

Curry, the reigning 3-point shootout king and half of the Splash Brothers, is the biggest reason theGolden State Warriors are the second best team in the whole of the NBA (They’re currently half a game behind the league-leading Atlanta Hawks) and first in the Western Conference right now.

So go ahead, vote him.

***

Some will probably take a flier on James Harden.

Hard to blame you on that also because Harden has the stats to back it all up with averages of 27.1 points, including 2.6 made triples and a ridiculous 8.3 made free throws, 5.8 caroms, 6.9 assists and 2.7 steals and blocks a game.

So yes, you can vote for him too. Go ahead.

***

My vote though isn’t going to either one of them. Not Chris Paul. Sorry Kevin Durant, I have voted you as MVP in the last three years but not this year.

You may call me nuts or send me to the looney bin but I’m giving it to Russell Westbrook of theOklahoma City Thunder.

Yes, Russell Westbrook it is.

And I will count the ways.

***

Okay, Westbrook missed some games due to various injuries, including a freak facial fracture caused by an accidental elbow by teammate Andre Roberson that caused him a game. But consider this, in 46 games he played, his averages bordered on the triple-double with 27 points, seven rebounds and 8.2 assists on top of 2.1 steals.

He has waxed hot most recently as he averaged 33.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 9.9 assists and 1.5 steals the last month, 33.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 11.3 assists and 1.6 steals in the last two weeks and was good for 42.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 2.3 steals in the last week.

Wow?

Photo: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks passes the ball as Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) defends him during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 5, 2015 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

***

In OKC’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers , they took a 123-118 overtime win over last Thursday and fresh from his return from a facial surgery, Westbrook erupted for a career-high 49 points and added a career-best 16 boards, 10 assists, three steals and a block in 42 minutes.

For the uninitiated, this is his fourth (yes, fourth!) straight triple-double to become the first player to accomplish such feat since Michael Jordan (Yes, Michael Jordan!) did the trick back in His Airness’ days.

He also became the third player to log consecutive 40-point triple-doubles in NBA history since, yes, Jordan again and Pete Maravich (Yes, Pete Maravich!).

***

We’re not finished.

Westbrook also became the second player in the past 30 seasons to drop a 45-15-10 line (Thanks Rotoworld) line since Vince Carter.

He is literally carrying the Thunder, who are clinging on the eighth and final spot in  the West, on his shoulders especially with Durant recovering from a foot injury.

And this player needed surgery to repair a dent in his face last week.

If this isn’t spectacular, I don’t know what is.

***

Whether you like it or not, I will vote for Westbrook, who by the way has seven 40-plus-point games.

So yes, it’s Westbrook.

I may have swayed some of you to do the same. But you can vote Davis or Curry or Harden or anyone and I will not take it against you. After all, it’s your vote.

But mine is already set.

Can I say wow now?

WOW!

***

Postscript: This is my current MVP rankings as of March 5 (Philippine time): 1. Westbrook, 2. Curry, 3. Davis, 4. Harden, 5. Paul, 6. Durant, 7. Jimmy Butler, 8. Klay Thompson, 9. LaMarcus Aldridgeand 10. Kyrie Irving.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

***

Joey Villar is a columnist for NBA.com Philippines. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not reflect those of the NBA.

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