Westbrook's gaudy line of 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists led many fans to call for Adam Silver to hand him the MVP award immediately, but Colin Cowherd explained on Monday's episode of "The Herd" why he still has Westbrook trailing three other players in the MVP race.
Impressive numbers don't guarantee you an MVP award
“Westbrook fanboys [say]… ‘Another triple-double, MVP!’
" ‘He scored 41 last night! MVP!’
" ‘Watch him play, he scored 50 and beat Denver! Is he the MVP now?’
"I’m just not that into him, but I enjoy watching him play and would buy a ticket -- which I would say for almost no other current athletes.
"I prefer some other guys over him -- who are more efficient, who are on teams that win more, who don’t seem to be trying to win [MVP] quite as much.”
You could make a convincing statistical argument for four different players as MVP
“I look at Westbrook, Harden and Kawhi, and I lined their numbers up.
"Points? Westbrook wins that.
"Assist and assist ratio? Harden wins that. Better team? Harden wins that.
"Kawhi’s got the better field-goal percentage, the better plus-minus than all of them, and is a way better defender.”
Just because Westbrook isn't my MVP doesn't mean he's not great
“I can line a bunch of numbers up and make a choice for any of them. I tend to think Westbrook sucks the oxygen a little bit out of the room. I think his team is the worst of the three, and he’s going to have 400 more shots. There are moments I think he’s gunning for [MVP], it means a little more for him.
"But that’s OK. He’s still great, and I’d buy a ticket to watch him."
When Westbrook shoots fewer shots, the Thunder are better
“There’s an interesting stat with Westbrook that nobody on radio or TV has mentioned. In the 10 games this year that he’s shot the least, OKC has their highest winning percentage. Discipline and moderation matter, too.
"And, in that, I prefer LeBron’s 55 percent, Kawhi’s unbelievable defense and tenor, and Harden’s slightly better efficiency.
"I’l say it again: In the 10 games Russell’s shot the least, they have their highest winning percentage.”
Russell Westbrook caps historic season with 42nd triple-double
DENVER -- Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson's record for triple-doubles in a season in spectacular, storybook fashion.
Westbrook's 42nd triple-double of the season was a 50-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist performance Sunday that concluded with his 36-foot buzzer-beater that gave the Thunder a 106-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets. The loss eliminated Denver from playoff contention.
Robertson recorded 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62, when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game. That made him the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double until Westbrook accomplished the feat this season.
"Very, very blessed. I've got to give all the thanks from the man above," Westbrook said. "He's blessed me with unbelievable talent to go out and compete at a high level. I'm just thankful for my teammates, for my coaching staff, for the organization, for all the fans, for my family for believing in me and allowing me to do what I'm doing."
It was Westbrook's third 50-plus-point triple-double, all of them this season and more than any player in NBA history has in his career. Westbrook has scored at least 40 points in eight triple-doubles this season.
Westbrook had a double-double before halftime, and he finished the first half with 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. He recorded his 10th assist by feeding Semaj Christon for a 3-pointer in the right corner with 4 minutes, 17 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, after the crowd had groaned when Thunder players failed to finish on the previous few passes that could have clinched the record for Westbrook.
"It was stressful, but it was going to happen," Christon said. "We knew it was going to come. When he got close, somebody needed to make a shot. I was open."
The Pepsi Center crowd immediately responded with a standing ovation. During the next break in play, the Nuggets' public-address announcer congratulated Westbrook on the record. Westbrook got another standing ovation after the buzzer, as Nuggets fans acknowledged and celebrated his historic season and afternoon.
"I've been feeling it for a while," Westbrook said of the appreciation from fans in road arenas. "Everywhere I've been, the crowd's been kind of like that, which is truly amazing, something I could never dream about growing up in inner-city Los Angeles. Now being on the biggest stage possible is something I could never dream about."
Westbrook briefly waved to acknowledge the announcement of his record-breaking accomplishment, but with the Thunder trailing by 10 at the time, he was in no mood to savor the moment.
"I had to get the ball and go back and win the game," Westbrook said.
He made a driving layup seconds later to start an individual scoring spree of the Thunder's last 15 points in the final 3:35. Westbrook has pulled off similar comebacks in recent road victories over the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic and has consistently dominated in crunch time this season, leading the NBA with 247 clutch points, as defined by when the score is within five points in the final five minutes.
As the crowd roared after Westbrook's buzzer-beater, he leapt in the air before being mobbed by his celebrating teammates.
"It was pure adrenaline, emotions running high, game-winning shot," said Westbrook, who will send the game ball and his uniform to his parents. "It's something you dream about as a little kid to be able to do that on the road, especially from that distance. It's something that you'll definitely never forget."
Four-time MVP LeBron James and Clippers star Blake Griffin were among several NBA players to congratulate Westbrook in messages on their Twitter accounts.
Westbrook began averaging a triple-double on Nov. 29 against the New York Knicks, and he maintained the averages for the rest of the season. Throughout the season, Westbrook often grew agitated talking about triple-doubles, but as he made history recently, Westbrook has been far more reflective and appreciative.
"You could never say in a million years that I would ever think that was even possible," Westbrook said Friday after clinching the triple-double average for the season. "For me to do it, it's a blessing that I'm honored to be able to do in this game today at the highest level. It's a true blessing. I'm just very thankful to be able to do it."
Westbrook's season has been full of history, with him running up two streaks of seven consecutive triple-doubles, second only to Wilt Chamberlain's streak of nine. He sits fourth all time in career triple-doubles at 79, with only Robertson, Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd having recorded more.
Westbrook is also headed for his second scoring title, as he leads the league with 31.9 points per game. It's the highest scoring mark of Westbrook's career, to go with career marks in rebounding (10.7) and assists (10.4), which all make Westbrook a strong MVP candidate.
"I think today was a pretty good argument," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "I've seen it every day. I think any coach out there who's got a player that he's working with or has been around is going to be for his guy, I understand that. But for me, I really, really believe that he is [the MVP] because of what he's done between the lines because of what he's done from a leadership role. Our team, a lot of the roster changed, there's a lot of young guys, a lot of things that went into our team being in a position to now play in the playoffs. His leadership, his play on the floor has basically, I think, spoken loud and clear."
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook gets back at the critics with NBA season-record 42nd triple-double
Revenge is a great motivator — just ask Oklahoma City NBA star Russell Westbrook, who this week scored, passed and rebounded his way in to the history books.
Recording a triple-double for the 42nd time this year, Westbrook has now beaten Hall of Famer' Oscar Robertson's record for most triple-doubles set in 1961-2.
The 6'3 (190.5cm) point-guard from Lawndale, California is the first man in 55 years to average a triple-double.
This means he has averaged at least 10 for scoring, assists and rebounding for an entire NBA season (82 games).
The 28-year-old broke Robertson's record on the road, in a buzzer-beating win against the Denver Nuggets.
Westbrook went ballistic, scoring 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, including the game-winning three-pointer before the buzzer.
To put Westbrook's record-breaking season in to perspective, he did it all by himself, without the Thunder franchise's second greatest all-time scorer and MVP Kevin Durant.
In 2015, Westbrook was forced to carry Oklahoma City's offence after Durant had a lacklustre run with injuries.
In 80 starts, Westbrook lead the league in points but was unable to will his side in to the playoffs without Durant's offence, giving many people the opinion that Westbrook could not make playoffs without Durant.
This season, Westbrook was again forced to put the Thunder on his back, but this time Durant was not returning from injury.
Durant departed to Golden State as a free agent, perhaps a coincidence, the Warriors are the same side who beat Durant and Westbrook last year in the Western Conference finals.
Betrayal spurs Westbrook's huge season
Durant's departure made Westbrook angry. His team's best scorer just joined the enemy who sent them home.
This was the spark that lit the Russell Westbrook's triple-double fire.
Westbrook has been one of the most exciting players this year and a genuine contender for the league's Most Valuable Player.
The back-to-back All Star MVP and 6-time All-star, has been controlling his team's offence in all year, whilst dominating the statistics and winning enough games to make playoffs.
Without Durant, Westbrook has averaged 31.6 points per game (ranked number one) 10.4 assists per game (third) and 10.7 rebounds per game (10th) on 30.4 minutes per game, this season while leading all in fourth quarter scoring.
Westbrook's fast pace style however can come at a cost sometimes, he is also second behind James Harden for most turnovers.
Durant's decision to jump ship to Golden State not only inspired, but forced Westbrook to improve his game to a new level or his side would not make playoffs similar to 2015.
This year Westbrook lead the league in scoring, had better rebounding numbers than most of the NBA's big men, and was able to make his team mates better by averaging the same amount of assists as when Durant was his team mate.
Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson endorsed Westbrook for Most Valuable Player in an interview with NBA writers last week.
"I don't think any of these guards could beat him in a one-on-one game. I think it's Westbrook," Robertson said.
Russell Westbrook has said that he doesn't care about the stats or the Most Valuable Player award. He said in an interview, that he doesn't care about his record breaking numbers, saying that an NBA championship is the only thing that is important to him.
The MVP this year will likely be Russell Westbrook or his former team-mate James Harden. Some NBA legends can't split the two and are calling for the first ever joint MVP.
The former team-mates will face off in round one of the NBA playoffs when third seed Houston takes on sixth seed OKC.