Who should win 2017 NBA MVP: James Harden or Russell Westbrook?
via AP

Who should win 2017 NBA MVP: James Harden or Russell Westbrook?

#HardenIsMVP
#WestbrookIsMVP
Join the conversation and vote below

Another grueling NBA season is in the books, and two superstars stood out above the rest—Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook. Harden led the Rockets to 55 wins, and was one of the most accurate shooters in the game. He made free-throws look effortless. But Westbrook was a monster on the court, setting an all-time league record with 42 triple-doubles in one season. Who do you think is the NBA MVP? 🏀

#HardenIsMVP
#WestbrookIsMVP

This is a tough one, with no clear consensus. Some pundits give Harden the edge, because he lifted his team to a better record and is a better scorer than Westbrook. He had roughly the same productivity as Westbrook but with fewer shots. It's hard to deny that his accuracy is elite.

But Westbrook had a season for the ages. He broke Oscar Robertson's league record for the most triple-doubles in a single season. You can't ignore that. Plus, let's consider the fact Westbrook carried the Thunder on his back after Kevin Durant bolted for the Golden State Warriors, a team already loaded with superstars. He is a one-man machine on a mission.

Let's look at the facts. Harden has been the more accurate shooter this season and the Rockets have a better record than the Thunder. And for some, including Harden, winning should be the deciding factor. Harden has made the Thunder a better team; he became the first player in NBA history to score and assist on 2,000 points in a single season. Westbrook might have some slightly better individual stats in a few places, but Harden did it all as a team-player.

Objectively, Harden has had a superior season. He’s had a higher field-goal percentage, an ever-so-slightly better free-throw percentage and a better three-point percentage. Perhaps the most compelling stat is this: Houston has eight more wins than Oklahoma City.
This sort of efficient scoring and passing combination is something we’ve rarely, if ever, seen. Harden and fellow lefty Isaiah Thomas are about to become the first guards in history to average 29 points or more on 20 shots or less. Along with that, Harden is generating a league-high 27 points from assists per night. 

Russell Westbrook has been a machine this season; we were already wondering if Westbrook was having the greatest single season in NBA history... back in December. (Some of you were a little skeptical back then, but 95 percent of Tylters gave Westbrook the edge earlier this year.) And it's important to put Westbrook's single season performance in perspective—it's simply historic. (He averaged a triple-double!) From breaking Oscar Robertson's record to single-handedly carrying the entire Thunder team on his back (after Durant left), it's hard not to be effusive with praise.

Westbrook has been both the league’s most valuable and its most outstanding player this season. He excels on both ends of the floor. In terms of numbers, he is in the top six in the NBA in points, assists, rebounds and steals. No one else is in the top 10 in all four of those categories.
Russell Westbrook is having the greatest season the NBA has ever seen, and broken Oscar Robertson’s unbreakable single season triple-double record – a record that stood for 55 years. Westbrook also joined Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double over the course of a season.

No matter how you look at it, Westbrook is having an historic and entertaining season.

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