Who’s The Real NBA MVP? A Case For Russell Westbrook

1 of 5

Apr 11, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts to a play in action against the New Orleans Pelicans during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It started as a joke.

It wasn’t even something that Russell Westbrook intended but somehow amidst all of the pageantry and fanfare of Kevin Durant’s MVP acceptance speech, this picture pervaded and became a joke, a meme…and a prophecy?

From there, the candidacy only continued to pick up steam. Kenny “The Jet” Smith predicted that Russell would be an MVP “within two years”. Westbrook outdueled Point-God Chris Paul in the Western Conference Semis. All seemed to be warning signs that he may be able to wrestle the MVP trophy from the clutches of the non-believers.

Then came the opportunity.

It wasn’t one that he wanted. I don’t think anyone, most notably Westbrook, wanted to hear that Durant had broken his foot last October. Nonetheless, the guard had an opportunity to carry a team, a chance to elevate his game to MVP status…

For all of two games.

And just like that, all of the buildup to a possible MVP run vanished. The instant that Russell broke his hand, he was written off. During his 14-game absence, Stephen Curry and James Harden quickly took over the MVP race. Even once Russ had returned to his typically excellent form, there were people questioning if he had played enough games to merit All-Star consideration, much less even be considered for MVP.

That is, until February happened.

Now, I’m not sure if Russell Westbrook replaced his bones with adamantium, acquired the Infinity Gauntlet, was bitten by a radioactive spider, or any other manner of collective superhero-inducing conventions. Whatever happened though, the Brodie hit some sort of superhuman level, the likes of which haven’t been seen since a young rogue named Michael Jordan wandered the NBA, devouring souls and laying waste to arenas in the form of triple-doubles and earth-shattering dunks.

Suddenly, the collective eyebrows of the NBA are cocked. Convention thrown to the wind, Westbrook forced everyone to reconsider how they evaluate the most valuable player. Traditionally, it’s been the best, most steady player on one of the best three or four teams in the league, but when a man starts deconstructing what you formerly thought was humanly possible for a 6’3” combo guard, suddenly the warts on a player who has missed 14 games for the eighth-seeded team seem pretty small.

So where does Westbrook stack up against the competition for the league’s highest individual honor? We dive in to the specifics for Russ as compared to the other front runners. First up: the King himself, LeBron James.

Next: Westbrook vs. LeBron