The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has 2-1 odds to be selected as next season’s most valuable player, according to Bleacher Report. The sports news medium also reveals the odds of the next four NBA players after Westbrook who are most likely to win, rounding out a top five list of potential candidates.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors has the second best odds to be the 2016-17 NBA MVP; his odds are 4-1. Curry’s placement on the list comes as no surprise; the jump-shooting phenom is in the prime of his career and is the reigning two-time MVP of the league, having won the accolade the past two seasons.
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers comes in at No. 3 with 5-1 odds. Golden State’s new offseason acquisition Kevin Durant comes in at No. 4 with 12-1 odds; Durant was the last MVP not named Steph Curry. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans comes in at No. 5 with 16-1 odds.
Expectations for Westbrook’s 2016-17 regular-season campaign have soared ever since Durant left the Thunder during free agency in July. Durant and Westbrook were teammates for eight seasons. Now, however, Westbrook no longer has to share the basketball nor the spotlight with his former co-star.
The hype surrounding the speedy, explosive guard also stems from the phenomenal statistical numbers he has accumulated over the course of the past couple of seasons.
Last season, Westbrook averaged 23.5 points per game, which was tied for eighth highest average of points scored per game in the league. He also averaged a career-high 10.4 assists and career-high 7.8 rebounds. Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson is the only other player in NBA history to average at least 23 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds in a season.
Two seasons ago, Westbrook notched a league-best 11 triple-doubles during the regular season. Last season, he picked up right where he left off; he notched a league-best 18 triple-doubles. Westbrook’s 18 triple-doubles put him in the history books; he is now tied with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles recorded during a single regular season since the NBA/ABA merger.
Curry is not the only MVP-caliber point guard thriving during the prime of his professional career; Westbrook deserves to be in that conversation, too. Now that Westbrook has signed a new contract extension with the Thunder, the Oklahoma City fan base will get to watch its beloved floor general flourish on the hardwood for at least another two seasons.
To Westbrook, welcome back. To the rest of the league, look out.
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