The NBA MVP race has been heating up as of late. With LeBron James’ 42-point performance against Golden State, the former four-time MVP has established himself as a leading candidate for the award.
While many have pegged Stephen Curry and James Harden as the front-runners, LeBron has had a sensational run during the Cavs recent inspired play. Cavaliers coach David Blatt is one of LeBron’s biggest supporters.
“There’s no discussion about the MVP if he is not involved in it,” he said. “Stephen has had a fabulous year and he’s a great player and he’s deserving of all the credit he’s been getting and deserving of being a frontrunner for that award but so is our guy.”
However, LeBron isn’t the only dark horse for NBA MVP. Russell Westbrook has had quite the season himself. The Oklahoma City guard has put up some very proficient numbers with 26.2 points, 8.1 assist and 6.6 rebounds. In addition to his gaudy per game averages, Westbrook amassed three straight triple doubles during games played on February 24th, 26th, and 27th.
Westbrook has been the main option for an Oklahoma City team that has been without reigning MVP Kevin Durant for the better part of the season. Although, like LeBron James, Westbrook has seen time on the inactive list. However, his impressive play is simply too much to ignore, and so is his impact on the team. Newly acquired Enes Kanter spoke on the subject to The Oklahoman.
“Russ is a really good leader, on the court, off the court, on the bench. He just talks to guys. Communicates with his teammates and his coaches and everything and just makes us have more energy which is really good.”
It’s pretty safe to say that James and Westbrook have been essential to their team’s success. The Cavaliers are making strides to become the Eastern Conference’s top overall seed, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
For either team to reach their postseason aspirations they are going to need all they can get out of their two stars, and potentially, their MVP candidates.