Westbrook accomplished both in a historic season, averaging 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists, while recording 42 triple-doubles. This year, Kawhi Leonard has been the best player on a Spurs team with a real shot of winning the title.
Westbrook understands none of that matters now. He and new head coach Mike D'Antoni are credited for the Rockets' current success, their rise.
Individual statistics aside, the goal for Westbrook and the Thunder is to win games and position themselves to make a run in the playoffs. Andre Roberson is one of the team's most frequent spot-up shooters, but his 27.9 percent shooting on these opportunities isn't going to move the needle.
SportsDay Mavericks reporter Eddie Sefko makes his picks for who moves from the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs. "I just want to win". It's what I did. Well, we won't know that until late June as the National Basketball Association is holding a new ceremony this year to announce awards but what we do know is that we're in for a treat watching these two go at it. Obviously, the stakes are higher, but at the same time, still got to put the ball in the hole. "I go out on the floor and play".
The two don't talk much during the season, par for the course with Westbrook, who normally doesn't fraternize with players on opposing teams. I thought winning is what this is about-period. "I think everybody knows that". "As the season's gone on, I really haven't seen a whole lot of change in Russell from the first day of training camp to now". How hard is it to achieve a triple-double, and why did it take so long for someone to match your accomplishment in the '61-'62 season?
"You've got to rebound", D'Antoni said simply.
He's facing another player who gets triple-doubles in bunches.
He opted for Westbrook to take home the award this season, with Harden finishing in second place. The team is more than just their MVP candidate running the show however, and the big stage afforded by the playoffs represents a chance for everybody in the Lone Star State to recognize the talent on the roster. If the Oklahoma City Thunder were a Windows computer, Russell Westbrook would be the System 32.
Westbrook acknowledged it will be "cool" to match up against his friend in this best-of-seven series. "It's a great experience". With the aforementioned Anderson finally back in the swing of things after missing six games toward the end of the regular season, the Rockets' second-highest paid player could be a difference maker in Game 1.
With only a 47-35 record, does Westbrook still deserve the MVP award? If Houston continues to hold its own on the glass despite three-guard lineups featuring some combination of James Harden, Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams, the Thunder won't last long this postseason.
However, if Durant had stayed, fans could only have imagined how well the team could've done - especially with the trading they've been able to pull off too. In transition, they do a great job of getting 3s. "You've got to protect the 3-point line". He averaged 29.1 points per game, to go along with 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds.
Westbrook had played all 80 of the Thunder's games this season. Donovan said the more balanced playoff schedule and built-in rest is helpful with that.
"Well, I would say (Russell) Westbrook was a topic of conversation, just randomly", he said with a chuckle.