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Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Russell Westbrook is the Most Valuable Player

The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook reaches out to fans after a 114-106 win in overtime against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook reaches out to fans after a 114-106 win in overtime against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

A heavy steel ball that annihilates buildings of all shapes and sizes, the wrecking ball was invented in the mid-20th century. Jeff Byles, who wrote “Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition,” said the following about the mechanism. “Laborious, yes. Wasteful, no. It was an elegant way to wreck.”

Russell Westbrook, the human wrecking ball, should be the 2017 NBA MVP.

There’s no sugarcoating or beating around the bush.

I do not have a vote, but if I did, the top name would be Westbrook’s, the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook isn’t the best player — hey, LeBron — nor is he the most consistent or best all-around player like James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, respectively, but there is no doubt that the 2016-17 season is Westbrook’s and his alone.

The statistics show 42 triple-doubles and more than 30 points per game. These are absurd numbers and bewildering on first glance.

But, as Westbrook would surely tell you by screaming into your face and slapping the water you’re holding just for effect, the numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.

The way that I view the MVP is as a synopsis of the year. Whose year was it? Who held the championship belt?

From Kevin Durant’s departure to the Golden State Warriors on July 4 of last year up until today, Westbrook has been the main act of the yearly NBA circus. Westbrook will average a triple-double this season.

Game in and game out, he has been the player who accrued the highlights and the victories for Oklahoma City.

With Westbrook, the Thunder are a playoff team. Without him, they’re a lottery team and potentially a squad fighting for the rights of likely top picks Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball.

Like all geniuses, Westbrook has moments of brilliance and subsequent lapses. When his shot is off or if he’s playing too fast — an actual complaint, believe it or not — he has the ability to single-handedly lose games for Oklahoma City, but even his worst moments are spectacular to watch.

Looking back at past seasons, there’s always a player that stands out. The Bulls’ Michael Jordan fit the bill for most of the 1990s, as did the dominant Shaquille O’Neal in his heyday for the Lakers. Even LeBron James separated himself from the pack in his standout seasons for the Heat. Last year was Steph Curry’s.

This season has Russ written all over it, even if Oklahoma City loses in four games in the first round.

Westbrook’s tenacity, obstinacy and drive — both mentally and toward the basket — are just overwhelming.

Westbrook deserves the MVP.

It’s his, and truthfully, it’s not even that 
close.

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