2017 NBA MVP Award: Russell Westbrook’s Triple Treat To Land Him MVP Award

For the first time in three years, Golden State Warriors’ star Steph Curry won’t be the NBA MVP.

The Warriors guard is a two-time winner of the coveted award but despite leading the Warriors to their second NBA Championship in three years, he won’t be collecting the award for a third consecutive year.

Curry along with four-time MVP LeBron James of the Cavaliers and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas were overlooked as the three finalists for the 2016-17 award with Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, Houston’s James Harden and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard this year’s three finalists. 

Here’s our guide to the hotly contested MVP race. 

James Harden (Houston Rockets) - Shooting Guard 

The Bearded one was again outstanding during 2016-17 and his numbers were phenomenal. 

Harden (pictured above) proved his worth as both a scorer and provider averaging 29.1 points and leading the NBA in assists with 11.2 APG.

He added 8.1 rebounds per game to narrowly fall short of an historic triple double average.

The Rockets star has extremely strong claims to the MVP title and without him the Rockets wouldn’t have taken off like they did in the highly competitive western conference.

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) - Point Guard

History was created when Russell Westbrook (pictured above) became just the second player in NBA history to average a season-long triple double.

Westbrook put up some incredible numbers averaging 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds per game as he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Western Conference playoffs.

The only other player to achieve the triple double feat was Oscar Robertson in 1961-62.

Westbrook’s numbers typify his work ethic, to not only be a prolific scorer but his willingness and ability to create for others and work hard in defence on the boards. 

Has strong claims for the MVP title and if were to receive it, no-one would begrudge him.

Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) - Small Forward 

If the MVP voters want a two-way player to win the award, there’s no better candidate than Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.

Undoubtedly the NBA’s leading two-way player, Leonard showed his prowess on both ends of the floor averaging a career best 25.5 PPG and averaging 1.8 steal per game on the defensive end.

The Spurs star is also in contention for the defensive player of the year award.

The Verdict

The bookmakers have the Thunder guard as a warm favourite but this year’s MVP race is a lot closer than the odds might suggest.

You only have to look at the calibre of players who missed out on the final three finalists to see how competitive the race was.

Two-time MVP Steph Curry, four-time MVP LeBron James and premier Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, all had legitimate claims to be MVP but six doesn’t fit into three. 

There are compelling arguments for each of the three finalists but in the minds of many, this is a two-horse race between Westbrook and Leonard.

If forced to pick, it’s hard to go past Westbrook and his history-making triple double average. If that’s not enough to win the MVP award, what is?

Other awards up for grabs include the rookie of year, defensive player of the year, coach of the year and sixth man of the year awards.

MVP Finalists:

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

James Harden (Houston Rockets)

Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) 

Tip: Russell Westbrook

There were no available odds at the time of publishing. 

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