Charles Buzeleski
Staff Writer

If you’ve been keeping up with the NBA this year, you know that we have one of the tightest MVP races of all time. Between stars Russell Westbrook and James Harden, many have shared their thoughts on who should win the award and why.

Russell Westbrook rewrote the record books this season, recording 42 triple doubles, which is the most in NBA history.
This means that he recorded a triple double in over half of the games he played in.

It also means that he is excelling in every important aspect of the game. He can score, assist his teammates, and grab rebounds as a point guard.

Having someone like that on your roster completely reshapes the team and gives them an opportunity to win night in and night out.

Breaking it down piece by piece gives a little more explanation as to why the triple-double record is the groundbreaker when determining the MVP.

First, we’ll start with points per game. Having an efficient scorer on your team is one of the most important things in the NBA because it gives you someone to rely on when it comes to immediate scoring and clutch time.

Speaking of clutch time (defined as a five-point game inside five minutes), Westbrook leads the league in points per 100 possessions (74.3), shooting 44.6 percent from the field and OKC is a plus-21.7 per 100 possessions with him on the court in such situations.

Next, look at assists. When it comes to deciding the MVP, assists are one of the bigger things to look at. Having a high assist count means that you can not only score but also give your teammates ample opportunity to score as well.

Being a “valuable player” also means being a “team player”, which is something Russell Westbrook spent all season proving.
The last column, rebounding, is something usually dominated by the power forwards and centers in the NBA. Russell Westbrook is a point guard but yet still managed to collect over 10 rebounds a game.

The argument has been made that James Harden has a “winning team”, so therefore he should be given the award of MVP.

Sure, a team’s record can help decide who provided more value, but it can also mislead you because the team with a better record could honestly just have more value on their team as a whole.

The MVP trophy should be given to the player who provides the most value to their respective team. Without Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder would not be the 6th seed in the west. They would probably be worrying about a lottery pick as opposed to a playoff run.

The Rockets have a lot of talent away from James Harden, and could very well still be a playoff team without him.

If the award was really just about the better team, either Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James would be at the top of the list.

While James Harden had a great season and deserves a shot at the MVP, Russell Westbrook took a team who lost Kevin Durant to free agency into a playoff caliber squad, all while rewriting the record books in the process. Ironically enough, Russell
Westbrook and James Harden will see each other in the first round of the playoffs when the 3rd seeded Rockets take on the 6th seeded Thunder.

Even though the MVP voting is done, it will be interesting to see if these superstars try to outshine the other in front of millions of fans.