League Pass MVP Watch, December Edition: Russell Westbrook Isn’t Perfect, But He’s Still Amazing

Associate Editor
12.29.16 2 Comments

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So when we started this League Pass MVP thing, I made myself one promise: the only person I would not pick for the award was Russell Westbrook.

My logic behind this was essentially that picking Russ seemed like a cop out. Of course he’s going to do jaw-dropping stuff all season – he’s essentially Kobe Bryant during those years where the Lakers were mediocre and Bean got his every night, only he’s a more willing facilitator and rebounder than Kobe was, well, ever. Remember how Kobe would randomly just take over games, but it was sometimes inefficient and his best teammates were dudes who weren’t even close to being as talented as him?

That’s essentially Westbrook this year. He’s not especially efficient, plus the team around him isn’t outstanding (although it’s better than the guys around Kobe from like 2004-07), so of course he’s going to put up ungodly numbers on a nightly basis. It just felt weird to reward someone for being the clear-cut best player on a team, one that needs him to put up the highest usage rate in the league by a lot.

But having said that, oh my god have you seen Russell Westbrook play basketball this month? How on earth could anyone argue that anyone other than him deserves to be the NBA’s League Pass Player of the Month for December? Saying he’s been fantastic sells short how amazing he’s been all season, but especially this month. The Thunder’s star is averaging 32.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 10.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in December while shooting 44.4 percent from the field (not great, but above his career average of 43.5 percent).

Westbrook is playing out of his cot dang mind. The whole “he’s averaging a triple-double” thing seems like it’s been overstated by everyone, because whenever Westbrook comes up, someone points out that he’s averaging a triple-double. This leads to it seeming like a crutch when discussing Westbrook, because it hides some of the flaws in his game.

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