Everybody is excited to watch Russell Westbrook work next season. Westbrook will be turned completely loose for the Thunder now that Kevin Durant is in Golden State, meaning he’ll be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
That freedom, along with a still fairly skilled supporting cast in Oklahoma City, means that Westbrook is the favorite to be the 2016-17 NBA MVP. He might mess around and average a triple-double.
Last season, with KD around, Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, 7.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He shot 45.4 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three-point territory. It might be hard for him to get enough assists without Durant there, but Westbrook will certainly see a scoring uptick.
Still, MVP does not always equal best player. LeBron James would win every year if that were the case. Westbrook is flashy and exciting and will put up numbers, but he’ll likely remain inefficient and on a team that struggles to get a top seed in the West.
Although he probably will take home MVP if healthy, Russell Westbrook won’t be one of the best three players in the West next year.
Next: Number Three