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#pounditTuesday, October 19, 2021

Oscar Robertson says Russell Westbrook should have won MVP last season

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has normalized triple-doubles in the NBA, and his spiritual predecessor thinks that has led to Westbrook being overlooked.

Retired basketball legend Oscar Robertson appeared this week on “The Knuckleheads” podcast. Robertson said during the episode that he believes Westbrook should have won MVP last season with the Washington Wizards.

“I look at Westbrook, and he got triple-doubles this year and no one even noticed it, they didn’t think it was such a big deal,” said the 82-year-old Robertson, per NBC Sports Washington. “I think that’s totally unfair. I think he should have won [MVP] again. If he [averaged] a triple-double again, and he didn’t win [MVP], so why keep stats then?”

Westbrook won the only MVP of his career in 2017 after becoming the first player since Robertson in 1962 to average a triple-double for an entire season. That led to a special bond between the two men.

Since then, Westbrook has averaged a triple-double for a whole season three more different times. That includes this year when he averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game. But the public seems much less impressed by that feat now, and Westbrook finished just 11th in MVP voting. Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who himself flirted with a triple-double average, took home the award for 2021.

Truth be told, Westbrook probably did not have that strong of an argument for winning MVP on the sub-.500 Wizards next to an elite backcourt partner in Bradley Beal. But Robertson’s greater point remains — do not disregard the historic nature of what Westbrook continues to accomplish statistically.

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