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Russell Westbrook is NBA MVP

He’s probably not going to win the award, but Russell Westbrook, guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder, should be the NBA’s Most Valuable Player this season.

After losing Kevin Durant in free agency, Westbrook has come back with venegence, seemingly out to prove every night that he can win a title by himself. Of course, he can’t, and he won’t, but that is besides the point. Westbrook has been nothing short of brilliant to this juncture in the season, easily playing the best basketball of anybody in the league.

LeBron James is the best player in basketball and James Harden or Stephen Curry is the best pure scorer. Yet, when it comes to the man who is simply having the best year or all of them, Westbrook stands alone. James is being his terrific self and that shouldn’t go punished because it’s expected. The three-time NBA champion is playing on the best team in the Eastern Conference and is averaging 26 points per game with eight rebounds and nine assists on the side.

As for Harden, he has the Houston Rockets firmly entrenched as the third-best team in the tough West, scoring 29 points with more than 11 dimes per night. Curry is sharing the basketball with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Durant, and is still putting up 25 points and 6.5 assists on average.

Then there is Westbrook, who is doing something we haven’t seen since the great Oscar Robertson. He’s averaging a triple-double. Robertson was able to pull off the feat with the Cincinnati Royals back in 1961-62 with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per contest. Considering the 3-point shot nor the shot clock had not been invented yet, it remains one of the great accomplishments in sport.

Westbrook is now making a real run at joining Robertson in that elite, rarefied air. Going into Wednesday night’s game at home against the New York Knicks, the 28-year-old is averaging 30.9 points with 10.1 assists and 10.4 rebounds per game. In the game versus New York (in progress at time of publication) Westbrook already has 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 helpers. In the 57 games played by Westbrook this season, he had a triple-double in 27 of them.

In his entire career, Michael Jordan amassed 28 triple-doubles.

There is a good chance that the Thunder get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. If the season ended today, Oklahoma City would be playing the San Antonio Spurs, led by Gregg Popovich, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. It would be surprising if that series went more than five games, but that undermines the excellence of Westbrook.

Despite playing on a non-contender, Westbrook has been a must-watch every night, pouring his heart into games that won’t end in a title. If nothing else, he should be rewarded as the rightful MVP, because nobody can touch the season he;s putting forth.

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