Who is the NBA MVP?
Russell Westbrook – Ben Epstein
From purely a statistical standpoint, Russell Westbrook was prolific. He averaged a triple-double and set a new record for triple-doubles in a single season. He led an otherwise depleted team to 13 wins over .500, good for the sixth seed in the West. The lack of playmakers and talent other than Westbrook on the Thunder cannot be overlooked in considering his value. Absolutely everything goes through him on offense. He’s played in all but one game and brings unmatched intensity every night. Even in a season in which LeBron James put up career highs in nearly every major statistical category, Kawhi Leonard is the ultimate playmaker for the second-best team in the West and James Harden has been nothing short of spectacular, Westbrook deserves the MVP. No question.
James Harden – Andrew Slap
James Harden deserves the MVP and frankly it shouldn’t even be close. LeBron James couldn’t manage to claim the top seed in the measly Eastern Conference, Kawhi Leonard is a great two-way player but averaged less than four assists per game and Russell Westbrook is a ballhog. Harden, on the other hand, led the league in assists and carried a Rockets team that finished .500 last year to the third seed in the West. He’s a more efficient scorer than Westbrook, actually gets his teammates involved and most importantly wins. It can’t be overlooked that with a relatively equal supporting cast, Harden had eight more wins than Westbrook. Sure Harden doesn’t average a triple-double, but that statistic is completely arbitrary. Westbrook may very well end up taking home the award, but Harden is far more worthy
Next Week’s Question
Who’s the best team in baseball?