Russell Westbrook Wins 2017 NBA MVP Award After Record-Setting Season
Russell Westbrook was rewarded for his record-setting 2016-2017 season by capturing the Most Valuable Player honors at the NBA Awards in New York City on Monday night.
Russell Westbrook Recorded 42 Triple-Doubles In 2016-2017 Season
The 28-year-old Oklahoma City Thunder point guard beat out fellow finalists James Harden (his former teammate), Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James.
The win marks Westbrook’s first career MVP Award.
Russell Westbrook. MVP. pic.twitter.com/5uiILOi0gW
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 27, 2017
Westbrook received substantially more votes and points than his competitors: the 2008 fourth overall pick out of UCLA finished with 69 first-place votes for 888 total points, while second-place Harden received 22 first-place votes for 753 points. Leonard garnered only nine first-place votes for 500 points, while James took just one first-place vote for 333 points.
Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated shared the final voting results:
NBA MVP voting results pic.twitter.com/AspckhVVS3
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 27, 2017
Westbrook opened his acceptance speech by thanking the Thunder, God and his close friends and family.
“Everybody in Oklahoma City that let me go out and compete at a high level every night,” Westbrook said. “I couldn’t thank everybody, but thanks, you guys, to everybody who helped me along the way.”
The six-time All-Star promised himself he wouldn’t become emotional, but couldn’t stop himself from crying as he expressed gratitude toward his mother, brother and wife, who were all present.
This past season, Westbrook wrote his name into NBA history by becoming the second player ever — after Oscar Robertson in 1962 — to average a triple-double with 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per night. Westbrook led the league in scoring, was third in assists and finished the 2016-2017 campaign with 42 triple-doubles to beat Robertson’s single-season mark.
Westbrook also shot a career-best 34.3 percent from three-point range in leading Oklahoma City to 47 victories last season. However, the Thunder was eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs after losing the series 4-1. Oklahoma City thus finished as the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
The guard also became the first player since Moses Malone in 1981 to win MVP on a team that didn’t achieve at least 50 victories in a single season.
Westbrook scored a career-high 57 points against the Orlando Magic last season, had three 50-point triple-doubles, and also recorded his first career buzzer-beating game winner against the Denver Nuggets on the same night he logged his 42nd triple-double.
With Westbrook, the Thunder outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions last season. Without him, the team was outscored by 8.9 points per 100 possessions. This figure would have dealt them the worst scoring margin of any team in the NBA by nearly two points.
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 28: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles up court against the New York Knicks during the first half at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 2016 in New York City.