You know the Rockets are concerned Russ Westbrook just ripped the MVP from James Harden. You know it because of how had they’re arguing on the Beard’s behalf.
The Beard himself argued that winning is supposed to trump any kind of individual freakery. Rockets GM Daryl Morey laid out his case across a series of tweets explaining why it should be Harden as opposed to Westbrook. And he made a really persuasive case.
But the fact that they’re lobbying this hard, means they’re concerned. And they should be. Even I flipped this weekend after honking hard for Harden the last few weeks. Because that 3 bomb that Westbrook dropped on Denver, for his 42nd triple double, on a 50 night was the quintessential MVP moment.
Westbrook just ripped that hardware out of the Beard’s hands, jumped on the scorer’s table, showed it to the world and in that moment, I changed my mind.
There simply was no denying it at that point. This cat not only did things that Harden didn’t do this season; he did things that no one has ever done… and probably never will ever again. Harden has had an incredible year. A year for the ages. Any other year and he runs away with it.
Of course, the Rockets are arguing what I myself tried to argue in recent weeks. And that’s how you do define valuable? Who’s more valuable? The guy killing it for the sixth best team in the conference? Or the guy doing it on the third best team? Fair argument. Especially if their numbers are the same. But they’re not. Westbrook’s are better. Across the board. He has twice as many triple doubles as Harden. He won the scoring title. And his clutch numbers are significantly better than Harden’s. He’s had a better year. Period.
But the Rockets keep hammering away at that point, that we’re the better team. The award isn’t about individual greatness, it’s about winning. Fair enough. Then neither of you deserve it; give it to Kawhi Leonard because the Spurs are better than both of you, and he’s the best player on their team. And statistically, he has been off the charts this year. If that’s your argument, Leonard’s the guy, not the Beard.
Hate to repeat myself, but it bears repeating: we talk about this all the time in horse racing: you can have a horse run an unbelievable race. Maybe a race of his lifetime. And still get beat. And then we say, “He ran a winning race. He ran his eyeballs out. He just got beat.”
That’s what happened to the beard. He ran a winning race. He may never run back to that ever again. But he got nailed at the wire by Russ. That’s a regular season award not a postseason award and based on what has transpired during the regular season, there’s no denying it. Westbrook is the guy. Don’t cop. Don’t split it up and give it to them both. Pick one guy and give it to him. I am. And it’s Westbrook.