A meme circulating on social media poses that very question.
The meme is an artistic depiction of the MVP-caliber guards sitting at a table wolfing large meals. The question posed at the top of the drawing is indicative of the sensational seasons the two players are having. To view the post, click here.
Harden is depicted on the left side of the picture; he is wearing his Houston Rockets jersey. He is also holding a fork in his right hand while holding a chicken wing in his left hand. The chicken wing in his hand is raised to his mouth, which is wide open. Harden also has a large plate full of wings and some dipping sauce on the table in front of him.
Westbrook is depicted on the right side of the picture; he is wearing his Oklahoma City Thunder jersey. He is also holding a bowl full of noodles in his left hand while holding a fork full of noodles in his right hand. The fork in his hand is raised to his mouth, which, like Harden’s mouth, is wide open. There is a stack of empty bowls on the table in front of him, indicating that he has already eaten lots of noodles by this point. Westbrook also has another bowl full of noodles in front of him ready to be eaten. Every bowl has the term “triple-double” on it in red lettering.
Harden and Westbrook are both in the MVP race for the 2016-17 NBA regular season. They both also appear to be locks to play in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, although the rosters for the game have not yet been finalized. Harden is seeking his fifth All-Star selection in five seasons and first MVP award. Westbrook is seeking his sixth All-Star selection in seven seasons and first MVP award.
Harden’s 2016-17 campaign is worth noticing. So far this season, “The Beard” is averaging 28.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game. His 11.9 assists per game lead the entire NBA in that statistical category. He has also recorded nine triple-doubles, which is second-most for one player this season. The most triple-doubles Harden had ever recorded in one regular season prior to the 2016-17 season was four; he already has more than double that number now.
Harden might have already put on his signature performance of the 2016-17 season when he led the Rockets to a win over the New York Knicks on Dec. 31. Harden posted a 50-point triple-double in that game; he finished with 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists. He tied Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain for the most points ever recorded in a triple-double performance. The Rockets won the game 129-122.
Westbrook’s 2016-17 campaign is worth noticing, too. The nine-year veteran is averaging 31.4 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game and 10.3 assists per game. He is on track to become the first NBA player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double for an entire regular season; Robertson achieved the feat during the 1961-62 season.
Westbrook has recorded 16 triple-doubles so far, which is the most for one player this season. He is on track to shatter the NBA record for most triple-doubles recorded in a single regular season in the last 40+ years; he and Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson share the current record at 18. Westbrook tied the record last season.
Harden’s Rockets have already gotten the better of Westbrook’s Thunder twice this season. The Rockets beat the Thunder 102-99 on Dec. 9, overcoming Westbrook’s 27-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double; Harden finished the game with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 12 assists. The Rockets then beat the Thunder 118-116 on Jan. 5, overcoming Westbrook’s 49-point performance; Harden finished the game with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 12 assists.
The Thunder did, however, beat the Rockets 105-103 on Nov. 16. Westbrook finished the game with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Harden finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 13 assists.
The Rockets are 29-9 and sit third in the Western Conference standings. The Thunder are 21-16 and sit seventh in the Western Conference standings. Harden and Westbrook continue to lead their teams into the postseason while making their cases as the two best players in the NBA.
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