Basketball 2 years ago

Is this the NBA's next MVP?

  • Is this the NBA's next MVP?
Originally created on SilverSurfer Blog by Michael Madelly.
Kevin Durant has left Oklahoma City, but the true superstar is still in town. 

By now everyone should be aware of Durant's controversial decision to jump ship and join the Golden State Warriors - a team that eliminated the Thunder in last years Western Conference Finals.

Durant - a former MVP and four-time scoring champion -  will be undoubtedly missed by the Thunder franchise, loyal fanbase and long-term partner in crime, Russell Westbrook.

However, don't be surprised if the latter of that list isn't as sad to see his superstar pal pack up and leave town.

While the chemistry between the two All-Stars looked better than ever in 2015, it's no secret that Westbrook and Durant had their struggles establishing the alpha male during their eight-year tenure together in OKC. 

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported on the issues Durant was having with his point guard and what ultimately made his decision to sign with another franchise.

"Ultimately he got frustrated and felt that they had plateaued," a source told Beck about Durant. "[Billy Donovan] came in, and he still had the same issues that he had with Russ under [Scott Brooks]. The offence didn't change much. He still had to take a ton of contested shots every game; and that's when he had the ball at all."

While you can understand a former MVP and scoring machine being frustrated over not having priority on offence, Russell Westbrook is just as deserving to control the reigns and lead this team.

Westbrook is the most athletic point guard the NBA has ever seen and continues to improve in all aspects of his game. Russ averaged 28.1 points, 8.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals in 2014. Westbrook then backed up these career-high numbers with 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, 7.8 rebounds and two steals during his 2015 campaign.

While Westbrook's numbers aren't significantly improved in 2015, it was his efficiency and willingness to trust his teammates that elevated him to another level.

Westbrook's new vision and determination was on full display as he tied Magic Johnson with 18 triple-doubles in a single season. 

Many will argue that Westbrook was only able to post these numbers due to the fact that opponents had to also account for Durant, thus creating space for the aggressive point guard to pick apart defences.  

This isn't the case at all.

In the 40 games that Westbrook played without the services of Durant by his side in 2015, the All-Star MVP averaged 30.7 points, 9.1 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Quite an extraordinary stat that is presumably going to improve now Westbrook has full control of this Thunder team. 

It's hard to imagine that Westbrook won't come out of the blocks in 2016 with more fire and aggression than we've ever seen before to cement his spot amongst the leagues elite and attempt to lead the Thunder to the promise land. 

So with all this said, it's time for the real MVP of Oklahoma City to stand up.

0 0
please wait...