Let me just say this up front: I think Kevin Durant is the Thunder’s MVP. He’s quietly had a terrific season, his team is better than last year and his value to the Thunder on both ends often gets overlooked.
And let me say this too: If I were an MVP voter, I’d pick Derrick Rose over Russell Westbrook. The award has “valuable” in it for a reason and head-to-head against Westbrook, I think Rose fits that criteria better than most. As Larry David might say, having said that…
The question has to at least be asked, especially by a Thunder inclined person: If Rose is the undisputed leader for the award, why isn’t Westbrook at least in the conversation?
The breaking point for me in wanting to write this came today when SportsCenter flashed this graphic. Comparing Rose’s season to Magic’s incredible 1986-87 season? And then saying nobody has dominated the position like Magic since Rose this year? (Nevermind that the numbers aren’t really all that similar.)
Derrick Rose: 24.9 points per game, 7.8 assists per game, 44.0 percent from the field, 34.0 percent from 3, 1.1 steals per game
Russell Westbrook: 22.1 ppg, 8.4 apg, 44.1 percent from the field, 32.5 percent from 3, 1.7 spg.
And for good measure, Westbrook grabs 4.6 rebounds a game compared to 4.2 for Rose and on top of that, Westbrook’s PER is 23.60 to Rose’s 23.34. In the end, I think we’d all agree those numbers are pretty similar. (At least more similar than Magic Johnson’s and Rose’s.) Similar enough at least to maybe put Westbrook in the same conversation as Rose. Similar enough to prevent people from saying things like, “Derrick Rose is dominating the PG position unlike anyone since Magic Johnson.” Evidently not. Keep Reading…