For much of the season, the NBA MVP conversation has been limited to four names: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis (before his latest injury) and LeBron James.
However, during a season in which the odds have been against him — he missed 14 games due to an early-season injury and the Thunder are battling for the Western Conference’s No.8 seed, not its N0. 1 seed — Russell Westbrook has officially crashed Curry, Harden, Davis and James’ party.
The 26-year-old is playing the best basketball in the NBA at the moment and, frankly, it’s not even close. Westbrook is averaging 30.4 points, 10.2 assists, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in the last month, pushing his season per-game averages up to 26.2 points, 8.1 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
It’s been Westbrook, not last year’s MVP Kevin Durant, who has led the Thunder to nine wins in their last 11 games, moving them from the outside looking in at the playoff picture to having sole possession of the No. 8 seed.
He’s essentially been in attack mode — flying around the court with his mind-boggling athleticism– every minute he’s played and it’s been truly astounding to watch.
It will undoubtedly be difficult for Westbrook to win the MVP if his team finishes as the No. 8 seed — team success plays a huge role in voting.
However, if he can finish strong and help the Thunder move up a seed or two before the season ends, Westbrook deserves a real shot at the hardware.