Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In Which I Stan For Russell Westbrook

There are certain records that as a fan of sports and statistics that I was pretty confident in saying that we would never see broken. Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak, Wilt chamberlain's 100 point game and one of the top if not top records I never thought I'd see fall was Oscar Robertson's record of most triple doubles in a season and subsequently average a triple double for an entire season.
For all the flaws of Russell Westbrook's game what he has done is something so remarkable I don't think I have fully fathomed the sheer awesomeness of over 82 games not only averaging a triple double but also in more than half the games you played doing so. I believe the savant Dragonfly Jonez said it best.

Now comes the argument over whether or not he is the league's most valuable player. To me the idea of a guy averaging a triple double and willing his team to the playoffs in the more difficult conference is just astonishing. But because this is a written forum ol' Uncle Puma will give you his top three reasons that Westbrook is the unquestioned MVP of the NBA season.

3. His team would be a lottery team if he was taken from them.

Without Russell Westbrook the Oklahoma City Thunder are a mess. The other contenders for MVP have a much more effective supporting cast but for argument's sake let's use the other top bet to win MVP James Harden.  Harden is surrounded by Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Patrick Beverly. Not exactly a murderers row of talent but definitely good enough to compete for a playoff spot. Westbrook has Taj Gibson, Steven Adams, and Victor Oladipo. No disrespect intended but one roster is clearly better than the other.

2. A statistician dream come true.
 The numbers that he puts up are just mind boggling. I'm going to dive a little deeper than traditional points, rebounds and assists here. Westbrook is number one in offensive rpm, which estimates on-court impact on team offensive performance, measured in points scored per 100 offensive possessions. He ranks 8th in defensive rpm which estimates on-court impact on team defensive performance, measured in points allowed per 100 defensive possessions. And he ranks 4th in win shares statistically responsible for 16.6 wins.

Not to beat a dead horse but GOD DAMN 42 TRIPLE DOUBLES?!?! That's not even possible in video games. There were 9 games where he came within an assist or a rebound shy of a triple double. And you can blow off his torrid pace as just stat chasing but the fact is this, in games where he got a triple double the Thunder were 33-9. In games he didn't they were 14-25 in games he didn't.  He literally did everything in pursuit not of stats but an almost obsession with getting this team to the playoffs.

So congrats Russy, even if some way you don''t get NBA MVP you'll always be able to fall back on being the MVP to the Chocolate Puma.

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