Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Today we have a mix of NFL free agency news and my opinion on Russell Westbrook's MVP chances.
Russell Westbrook dropped a career high, and a team record, 58 points in last nights loss to the Portland Trailblazers. Most people look at a performance with 58 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 1 block as more evidence Westbrook should win MVP this season. I completely disagree. Westbrook took 39 shots; the rest of the team took 46. Westbrook had 30 more shots than anyone else on the team, and that's not MVP play. All great players take over a couple games every year, but the rest of the time they move the ball around at will for the better of the team and development of their teammates. Ball movement wins games. That's a fact. Westbrook hasn't showed much of a willingness to play that way this year though. If you average a triple double it means that every single game you put the team on your back and don't ever stop to consider letting others have more responsibility for the teams wins and losses. Being on a team as lacking in talent as the Thunder could be part of Westbrooks reasoning for this, but lets not pretend that Taj Gibson, Victor Oladipo, and Steven Adams are scrubs. All three of them are experienced players that have preformed well in the past. Obviously averaging 10 assists means that Westbrook can and does find the man with the open shot, but he doesn't do that enough, especially in crunch time. When the game is on the line, it's Russell time. Instead of playing with the style the Championship favored Warriors do, which is the open man takes the shot, Westbrook wants to be the hero. It seems like he plays to fill the box score, and once that's done, he plays to make the game winning shot. We have seen Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka all excel with increased roles on other teams, so we know that Westbrook has had chances to lean on his teammates a little bit more. Now that those three are gone, instead of changing his mindset to attract free agents and develop better on court chemistry with his teammates, Westbrook has taken this selfish style of play to a new level. You can stuff a box score all you want, but when you do it by always taking the most shots (while shooting only 42%) you don't deserve MVP consideration over those who stuff a box score while being more efficient in other more important areas. There is no denying Westbrooks greatness, and when I watch him I always see a ferocious competitor that does whatever it takes to win, except, of course, let his teammates carry some of the load.
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High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.