Countdown to NBA 2019: Most Valuable Player Candidates, #8

Just over a week away from the start of the NBA regular season and the hype is real! Today’s potential MVP candidate is a former winner of the award. In fact, he is always in the MVP conversation because of his impressive box scores. 

#8 Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is a certified stat-sheet-stuffer. Westbrook is tied for 2nd All-time in NBA history with 138 triple-doubles. With 34 triple-doubles in 73 games last season, Westbrook is a monster on the court. Over the last 3 seasons, Westbrook has AVERAGED a TRIPLE-DOUBLE. That is just absurd to try to comprehend. The 2016-2017 MVP is also an 8x All-NBA player, 8x All-Star, and 2x Scoring Champion. As long as Westbrook gets up his style of play, he will continue to be in the MVP conversation. The biggest downside to Westbrook is that he is not the best shooter on the court. He needs to be able to attack the basket in order to be effective, which could be problematic for this upcoming season. The problem being that Westbrook will be playing in Houston for the first time… alongside James Harden. The 2 used to play together years ago in OKC, but that was well before Harden has become the MVP caliber player in his own right nowadays. Will the duo be able to coincide this season, or will the two former MVPs that demand the ball in their hands fail to coexist? Westbrook was 35th in PER last season with a rate of 21.14 (league average is 15.00) and this number could improve if he is not the primary ball-handler for the entirety of games this season.

Westbrook is currently at +1400 (Bovada) to win the NBA MVP award. Do you think Westbrook will win the MVP? Let me know in the comments below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

Tim Shelby from Arlington, VA, US [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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