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Who will be the MVP?

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Matthew Polek, Staff Writer

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On June 26 the wait will be over. The 2017 NBA MVP will be announced by Commissioner Adam Silver.

Many say James Harden will take home the hardware, some think Kawhi Leonard will get it, some even think LeBron James deserves it. But the choice is simple, Russell Westbrook has had this MVP since before the season even started.

On July 5, 2016 Kevin Durant abandoned his teammate Russell Westbrook to join the Golden State Warriors, a move that was seen as cowardly by many, but it just gave Westbrook the opportunity to be the best player on his team for the first time in his career and he took full advantage of it.

The triple double is an amazing feat in basketball, something that isn’t accomplished often. Oscar Robertson has the most career triple doubles with 181. To put that in perspective, he played in 1040 career games. The player who has the most career triple doubles only had one in 17% of the games he played. That’s not a lot.

The triple double is a rare feat, and Oscar is the only player to average a triple double over a full season and he did that in 1961-62. That year he had 41 triple doubles, the most ever in a single season. Most people thought this record would never be broken, and if it was it would be a truly amazing defeat. Whoever broke it would be in the record books forever.

If someone broke it they would be the MVP right? No doubt, right? That’s just unheard of, you’d have to give that player the MVP. So why are we still arguing?

Russell Westbrook has been on a mission since Durant abandoned him, Russell wanted to prove a point – he did not need KD. He can dominate and lead a team by himself. And he did just that. In 81 games he averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds. Just the second player EVER to average a triple double. Incredible, absolutely incredible.

But he only got the 6th seed in the west, the MVP needs to be on a better team. Why? There’s no set in stone qualification to be the MVP, but it stands for most VALUABLE player, not best player on the best team. If you took Westbrook off the Thunder, they would be as bad as the Nets – yes, they would be that bad. Still not convinced Westbrook is the most VALUABLE player? Let’s look at the other candidates.

James Harden, a great player who had a great year, plays on a Rockets team with plenty of talent around him. Take him off, Eric Gordon can still lead that team to the playoffs, or at least close to it. They wouldn’t drop as badly as the Thunder would without Westbrook.

Kawhi Leonard, arguably the best two way player in the league, had himself an amazing year. He’s valuable, but not the most valuable. He plays for the Spurs, that team has Pop at the helm, they’d manage even with the 13 worst players in the league.

And now LeBron. The best player on the planet. But not the most valuable. He’s surrounded by Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. Without LeBron, that team would still easily be a top 4 team in the eastern conference.

The award is most VALUABLE player, not best player. Westbrook means more to the Thunder more than any other player to their team. He averaged a triple double, led an AWFUL Oklahoma City team to the 6 seed in the western conference, and broke the record for most triple doubles in a single season. If he doesn’t win the MVP, it would be an absolute disgrace.

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Who will be the MVP?