A Tale of Two — Harden and Westbrook’s historical seasons in quest for their first MVP.

The Tale of Two

This year’s “Most Valuable Player” race has seemingly been a dual amongst two former teammates, who have both had a career-best season in various different statistical categories.

The closer the end of the season got, the more tweets took off and articles were posted about why this player should win MVP and why this player should not win, but can you even go wrong with either at this point? The debates are great because this is what sports are all about. Sports are subjective when it comes down to these personal awards, but these awards are also provocative, “IT GETS THE PEOPLE GOING!” We get so caught up in who’s right about who should win (including myself) that we may miss the greatness of the seasons the two are having this year.

The Narratives:

Westbrook came into the season with pressure to show how capable he was of leading a team after the well-documented departure of his former MVP teammate, Kevin Durant. Harden came into the season having to adjust to a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni and also switching his position from shooting guard to full-time point guard. The narratives for both players were there to begin the season, but if you are a person to say you expected this out of both of these players this season than you are probably a genius or a super fan of either.

The Numbers — and there are plenty:

When it comes down to these two candidates’ numbers, you can pull out a bevy of numbers to support the claims of why either of the former teammates should win the everlasting conquest in the war of opinions and discussions that this MVP race has led to.

First things first, both players have thrived in their respective systems this year. Westbrook is the first player since Oscar Robinson to average a triple-double over the course of the entire season, he also broke Robinson’s record by notching a league-record, 42 triple-doubles this season.

Westbrook missed just one total game in the 2016–2017 season. Westbrook’s base stats were fairly impressive. He averaged 31.4 points per game — league best, 10.4 assists per game — third in the league behind John Wall and Harden, and 10.7 rebounds per game — 11th best in the league, and the only guard within the top 25, with Harden being 26th in total rebounds per game, all while shooting 42 percent from the field, 34 percent from three point line and 84.5 percent from the free throw line. For context purposes, Westbrook averaged more rebounds than eight centers in the top 25 in rebounding per game.

Harden has also missed just one game in the 2016–2017 season. Harden averaged 29.1 points per game — second in the league, 11.2 assists per game — league leader, 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the field, 34 percent from the three point line and 84.7 percent from the free throw line.

The Thunder have used Westbrook much differently than the Rockets have used Harden and personally that is something to be look at in the battle for MVP.

Westbrook has a usage percentage of 41.2 percent, which is number one in the league’s history, the closest to Westbrook? Kobe Bryant during the 2005–2006 season with a usage rating 38.74, the year many people thought he was snubbed of his MVP award by Steve Nash.

Harden also has a high usage percentage, but not nearly as high as Westbrook’s. Harden’s usage sits at 34.2 percent.

What does this mean? Just exactly how much a player is being used when he is on the court over the course of the game. This number just means Westbrook’s team uses him a lot, and when I say a lot I mean almost every possession when he’s in the game. Nothing is wrong with that, it’s just different from his counterpart.

The next number is the player efficiency rating. What is player efficiency rating? According to basketball reference, it is described as “a per-minute rating developed by ESPN.com columnist John Hollinger. In John’s words, ‘“The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.”

Westbrook finished his historical regular season with a player efficiency rating of 30.6, which even for the amount of usage is still ridiculous. For clarity purposes, the league average for per is 15, which mean’s Westbrook is above twice the league average and for someone that has logged over 2800 minutes in the season that is impressive. Westbrook’s PER would put him in the top-20 in the National Basketball Association’s history and is also the top PER for the 2016–2017 season.

Harden finished his regular season with a per of 27, which is number five in the NBA this year, it is not as impressive as Westbrook, but still very efficient for a player logging that many minutes and with that usage rating. Harden’s per is good for top-80 per of NBA history, but not nearly as great as Westbrook’s historically.

On the other side of it, Harden is the more efficient player when it comes to shooting, while almost averaging nearly identical numbers on about six less shot attempts per contest.

Harden is shooting 34.7 percent from three, a career worst, while Westbrook is also shooting 34.3 percent, a career high from three, but Harden does have a much better true shooting percentage. Harden’s true shooting percentage, which accounts for three pointers, two pointers and free throws, ended at 61.3 percent while Westbrook finished with a true shooting percentage of 55.4 percent.

Westbrook has contributed more wins to his team defensively being that he has more defensive win shares, but Harden has contributed more wins to his team offensively as he has more offensive win shares and he also leads the league in offensive win shares — according to basketball reference. They both turn the ball over about the same amount per game but Harden has a higher turnover percentage, which means an estimate of turnovers committed per 100 possessions, at 19.5 percent, while Westbrook has a 15.9 turnover percentage.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?

It depends on how you value the Most Valuable Player. It is very ironic that Harden has a chance at losing this after so many people preached on team success in his 2015 MVP campaign when he loss to Stephen Curry who would later go on to win the championship and the next year with his second-straight MVP. This year people are kind of pushing the team narrative out of the way and it is strange, but that really just speaks on how historical of a year Westbrook is really having. Averaging a triple-double while ALSO leading the league in points per game is not an easy task and should not be whiffed at, which is exactly why regardless of if he wins or not his season will go down as being remember.

If you go in blind and someone told you pick between one player who leads a three-seeded team on the second-ranked offense with 55 wins, and also the 10th best ranked offense of all time and has a chance a title and choose between a 47 win team who has the 17th ranked offense this year who many people do not expect to reach the next round, which player would you pick as more valuable to their team? Historically it would be the first choice.

Historically when the numbers are remotely close, the vote almost always goes to the player who’s team is doing better.

Both players have had ridiculous seasons, but recency bias may also play a part. The last game we remember Westbrook for this season is his 50 point triple-double against the Nuggets to give him his 42nd triple-double of the year where he also btw, made the game-winner to end Denver’s playoff chances. Westbrook had three 50 point triple-doubles this season, which is absolutely ridiculous, but Harden still may have had the game of the season against the Knicks, where he scored 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists. Harden had two 50 point triple-doubles this season. Westbrook’s triple-double numbers do not hurt when his team is 33–9 when he gets one and for good measure, Westbrook has also had seven games this season where he’s been either a rebound or assist shy of a triple-double.

Westbrook is not the only player out of this bunch to have made history. Harden is the only player to ever score 2,000 points and to also create 2,000 points from his assists in the same seasons. Harden is the first player to ever average 25 point and also average 25 points from assists per game. Harden is also the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 900 assists, and 600 rebounds.

Harden had a great lead on Westbrook, and I still believe he does, but Westbrook’s post-allstar numbers were RIDICULOUS so I completely understand why someone would choose him as the MVP and would not be upset if either were to win. I think Harden’s team and his individual numbers combined gives him the slight edge above Westbrook in my MVP voting, but I still think Westbrook will win, why? He has a better narrative. What’s lost in all of Westbrook’s triple-doubles is how many clutch points he’s had this season. Westbrook leads the league in crunch time in points per 100 possessions, that means when his team needs the big shot he MAKES it. He leads his team to victory. He’s won games for the Thunder by himself in crunch time and I think that combined with the triple-doubles along with how historic his season has been will give him the win for his first MVP. What a regular season, and how much better do the BASKETBALL GOD’S get by giving us, the PEOPLE, a first-round matchup of Westbrook vs. Harden. Although the voting for MVP is over, it is still entertaining and a cool story line.

The Tale of Two

This year’s “Most Valuable Player” race has seemingly been a dual amongst two former teammates, who have both had career-best season in various different statistical categories.

The closer to the end of the season got, the more tweets that took off and articles were posted about why this player should win MVP and why this person should not win, and at this point can you even go wrong with either at this point? The debates are great because this is what sports are all about. Sports are subjective when it comes down to these personal awards, but these awards are also provocative, “IT GETS THE PEOPLE GOING!” We get so caught up in who’s right about who should win (including myself) that we may miss the greatness of the seasons the two are having this year.

The Narratives:

Westbrook came into the season with pressure to show how capable he was of leading a team after the well-documented departure of his former MVP teammate, Kevin Durant. Harden came into the season having to adjust to a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni and also switching his position from shooting guard to full-time point guard. The narratives for both players were there to begin the season, but if you are a person to say you expected this out of both of these players this season than you are either a genius or a super fan of either.

The Numbers — and there’s plenty:

When it comes down to these two candidates’ numbers, you can pull out a bevy of numbers to support the claims of why either of the former teammates should win the everlasting conquest in the war of opinions and discussions that this MVP race has led to.

First things first, both players have thrived in their respective systems this year. Westbrook is the first player since Oscar Robinson to average a triple-double over the course of the entire season, he also broke Robinson’s record by notching a league-record, 42 triple-doubles this season.

Westbrook missed just one total game in the 2016–2017 season. Westbrook’ base stats were fairly impressive. He averaged 31.4 points per game — league best, 10.4 assists per game — third in the league behind John Wall and Harden, and 10.7 rebounds per game — 11th best in the league, and the only guard within the top 25, with Harden being 26th in total rebounds per game, all while shooting 42 percent from the field, 34 percent from three point line and 84.5 percent from the free throw line. For context purposes, Westbrook averaged more rebounds than eight centers in the top 25 in rebounding per game.

Harden has also missed just one game in the 2016–2017 season. Harden averaged 29.1 points per game, 11.2 assists per game 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the field, 34 percent from the three point line and 84.7 percent from the free throw line.

The Thunder have used Westbrook much differently than the Rockets have used Harden and personally that is something to be look at in the battle for MVP.

Westbrook has a usage percentage of 41.2 percent, which is number one in the league’s history, the closest to Westbrook? Kobe Bryant during the 2005–2006 season with a usage rating 38.74, the year many people thought he was snubbed of his MVP award by Steve Nash.

Harden also has a high usage percentage, but not nearly as high as Westbrook’s. Harden’s usage sits at 34.2 percent.

What does this mean? Just exactly how much a player is being used when he is on the court over the course of the game. This number just means Westbrook’s team uses him a lot, and when I say a lot I mean almost every possession when he’s in the game. Nothing is wrong with that, it’s just different from his counterpart.

The next number is the player efficiency rating. What is player efficiency rating? According to basketball reference, it is described as “a per-minute rating developed by ESPN.com columnist John Hollinger. In John’s words, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.”

Westbrook finished his historical regular season with a player efficiency rating of 30.6, which even for the amount of usage is still ridiculous. For clarity purposes, the league average for per is 15, which mean’s Westbrook is above twice the league average and for someone that has logged over 2800 minutes in the season that is impressive. Westbrook’s PER would put him in the top-20 in the National Basketball Association’s history and is also the top PER for the 2016–2017 season.

Harden finished his regular season with a per of 27, which is number five in the NBA this year, is not as impressive as Westbrook, but still very efficient for a player logging that many minutes and with that usage rating. Harden’s per is good for top 80 per of NBA history, but not nearly as great as Westbrook’s historically.

On the other side of it, Harden is the more efficient player when it comes to shooting, while almost averaging nearly identical numbers on about six less shot attempts per contest.

Harden is shooting 34.7 percent from three, a career worst, while Westbrook is also shooting 34.3 percent, a career high from three, but Harden does have a much better true shooting percentage. Harden’s true shooting percentage, which accounts for three pointers, two pointers and free throws, ended at 61.3 percent while Westbrook finished with a true shooting percentage of 55.4 percent.

Westbrook has contributed more wins to his team defensively being that he has more defensive win shares, but Harden has contributed more wins to his team offensively as he has more offensive win shares and he also leads the league in offensive win shares — according to basketball reference. They both turn the ball over about the same amount per game but Harden has a higher turnover percentage, which means an estimate of turnovers committed per 100 possessions, at 19.5 percent, while Westbrook has a 15.9 turnover percentage.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?

It depends on how you value the Most Valuable Player. It is very ironic that Harden has a chance at losing this after so many people preached on team success in his 2015 MVP campaign when he loss to Stephen Curry who would later go on to win the championship and the next year with his second-straight MVP. This year people are kind of pushing the team narrative out of the way and it is strange, but that really just speaks on how historical of a year Westbrook is really having. Averaging a triple-double while ALSO leading the league in points per game is not an easy task and should not be whiffed at, which is exactly why regardless of if he wins or not his season will go down as being remember.

If you go in blind and someone told you pick between one player who leads a three-seeded team on the second-ranked offense with 55 wins, and also the 10th best ranked offense of all time and has a chance a title and choose between a 47 win team who has the 17th ranked offense this year who many people do not expect to reach the next round, which player would you pick as more valuable to their team? Historically it would be the first choice.

Historically when the numbers are remotely close, the vote almost always goes to the player who’s team is doing better.

Both players have had ridiculous seasons, but recency bias may also play a part. The last game we remember Westbrook for this season is his 50 point triple-double against the Nuggets to give him his 42nd triple-double of the year where he also btw, made the game-winner to end Denver’s playoff chances. Westbrook had three 50 point triple-doubles this season, which is absolutely ridiculous, but Harden still may have had the game of the season against the Knicks, where he scored 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists. Harden had two 50 point triple-doubles this season. Westbrook’s triple-double numbers do not hurt when his team is 33–9 when he gets one and for good measure, Westbrook has also had seven games this season where he’s been either a rebound or assist shy of a triple-double.

Westbrook is not the only player out of this bunch to have made history. Harden is the only player to ever score 2,000 points and to also create 2,000 points from his assists in the same seasons. Harden is the first player to ever average 25 point and also average 25 points from assists per game. Harden is also the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 900 assists, and 600 rebounds.

Harden had a great lead on Westbrook, and I still believe he does, but Westbrook’s post-allstar numbers were RIDICULOUS so I completely understand why someone would choose him as the MVP and would not be upset if either were to win. I think Harden’s team and his individual numbers combined gives him the slight edge above Westbrook in my MVP voting, but I still think Westbrook will win, why? He has a better narrative. What’s lost in all of Westbrook’s triple-doubles is how many clutch points he’s had this season. Westbrook leads the league in crunch time in points per 100 possessions, that means when his team needs the big shot he MAKES it. He leads his team to victory. He’s won games for the Thunder by himself in crunch time and I think that combined with the triple-doubles along with how historic his season has been will give him the win for his first MVP. What a regular season, and how much better do the BASKETBALL GOD’S get by giving us, the PEOPLE, a first-round matchup of Westbrook vs. Harden. Although the voting for MVP is over, it is still entertaining and a cool story line.

The Tale of Two

This year’s “Most Valuable Player” race has seemingly been a dual amongst two former teammates, who have both had career-best season in various different statistical categories.

The closer to the end of the season got, the more tweets that took off and articles were posted about why this player should win MVP and why this person should not win, and at this point can you even go wrong with either at this point? The debates are great because this is what sports are all about. Sports are subjective when it comes down to these personal awards, but these awards are also provocative, “IT GETS THE PEOPLE GOING!” We get so caught up in who’s right about who should win (including myself) that we may miss the greatness of the seasons the two are having this year.

The Narratives:

Westbrook came into the season with pressure to show how capable he was of leading a team after the well-documented departure of his former MVP teammate, Kevin Durant. Harden came into the season having to adjust to a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni and also switching his position from shooting guard to full-time point guard. The narratives for both players were there to begin the season, but if you are a person to say you expected this out of both of these players this season than you are either a genius or a super fan of either.

The Numbers — and there’s plenty:

When it comes down to these two candidates’ numbers, you can pull out a bevy of numbers to support the claims of why either of the former teammates should win the everlasting conquest in the war of opinions and discussions that this MVP race has led to.

First things first, both players have thrived in their respective systems this year. Westbrook is the first player since Oscar Robinson to average a triple-double over the course of the entire season, he also broke Robinson’s record by notching a league-record, 42 triple-doubles this season.

Westbrook missed just one total game in the 2016–2017 season. Westbrook’ base stats were fairly impressive. He averaged 31.4 points per game — league best, 10.4 assists per game — third in the league behind John Wall and Harden, and 10.7 rebounds per game — 11th best in the league, and the only guard within the top 25, with Harden being 26th in total rebounds per game, all while shooting 42 percent from the field, 34 percent from three point line and 84.5 percent from the free throw line. For context purposes, Westbrook averaged more rebounds than eight centers in the top 25 in rebounding per game.

Harden has also missed just one game in the 2016–2017 season. Harden averaged 29.1 points per game, 11.2 assists per game 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the field, 34 percent from the three point line and 84.7 percent from the free throw line.

The Thunder have used Westbrook much differently than the Rockets have used Harden and personally that is something to be look at in the battle for MVP.

Westbrook has a usage percentage of 41.2 percent, which is number one in the league’s history, the closest to Westbrook? Kobe Bryant during the 2005–2006 season with a usage rating 38.74, the year many people thought he was snubbed of his MVP award by Steve Nash.

Harden also has a high usage percentage, but not nearly as high as Westbrook’s. Harden’s usage sits at 34.2 percent.

What does this mean? Just exactly how much a player is being used when he is on the court over the course of the game. This number just means Westbrook’s team uses him a lot, and when I say a lot I mean almost every possession when he’s in the game. Nothing is wrong with that, it’s just different from his counterpart.

The next number is the player efficiency rating. What is player efficiency rating? According to basketball reference, it is described as “a per-minute rating developed by ESPN.com columnist John Hollinger. In John’s words, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.”

Westbrook finished his historical regular season with a player efficiency rating of 30.6, which even for the amount of usage is still ridiculous. For clarity purposes, the league average for per is 15, which mean’s Westbrook is above twice the league average and for someone that has logged over 2800 minutes in the season that is impressive. Westbrook’s PER would put him in the top-20 in the National Basketball Association’s history and is also the top PER for the 2016–2017 season.

Harden finished his regular season with a per of 27, which is number five in the NBA this year, is not as impressive as Westbrook, but still very efficient for a player logging that many minutes and with that usage rating. Harden’s per is good for top 80 per of NBA history, but not nearly as great as Westbrook’s historically.

On the other side of it, Harden is the more efficient player when it comes to shooting, while almost averaging nearly identical numbers on about six less shot attempts per contest.

Harden is shooting 34.7 percent from three, a career worst, while Westbrook is also shooting 34.3 percent, a career high from three, but Harden does have a much better true shooting percentage. Harden’s true shooting percentage, which accounts for three pointers, two pointers and free throws, ended at 61.3 percent while Westbrook finished with a true shooting percentage of 55.4 percent.

Westbrook has contributed more wins to his team defensively being that he has more defensive win shares, but Harden has contributed more wins to his team offensively as he has more offensive win shares and he also leads the league in offensive win shares — according to basketball reference. They both turn the ball over about the same amount per game but Harden has a higher turnover percentage, which means an estimate of turnovers committed per 100 possessions, at 19.5 percent, while Westbrook has a 15.9 turnover percentage.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?

It depends on how you value the Most Valuable Player. It is very ironic that Harden has a chance at losing this after so many people preached on team success in his 2015 MVP campaign when he loss to Stephen Curry who would later go on to win the championship and the next year with his second-straight MVP. This year people are kind of pushing the team narrative out of the way and it is strange, but that really just speaks on how historical of a year Westbrook is really having. Averaging a triple-double while ALSO leading the league in points per game is not an easy task and should not be whiffed at, which is exactly why regardless of if he wins or not his season will go down as being remember.

If you go in blind and someone told you pick between one player who leads a three-seeded team on the second-ranked offense with 55 wins, and also the 10th best ranked offense of all time and has a chance a title and choose between a 47 win team who has the 17th ranked offense this year who many people do not expect to reach the next round, which player would you pick as more valuable to their team? Historically it would be the first choice.

Historically when the numbers are remotely close, the vote almost always goes to the player who’s team is doing better.

Both players have had ridiculous seasons, but recency bias may also play a part. The last game we remember Westbrook for this season is his 50 point triple-double against the Nuggets to give him his 42nd triple-double of the year where he also btw, made the game-winner to end Denver’s playoff chances. Westbrook had three 50 point triple-doubles this season, which is absolutely ridiculous, but Harden still may have had the game of the season against the Knicks, where he scored 53 points, 16 rebounds and 17 assists. Harden had two 50 point triple-doubles this season. Westbrook’s triple-double numbers do not hurt when his team is 33–9 when he gets one and for good measure, Westbrook has also had seven games this season where he’s been either a rebound or assist shy of a triple-double.

Westbrook is not the only player out of this bunch to have made history. Harden is the only player to ever score 2,000 points and to also create 2,000 points from his assists in the same seasons. Harden is the first player to ever average 25 point and also average 25 points from assists per game. Harden is also the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 900 assists, and 600 rebounds.

Harden had a great lead on Westbrook, and I still believe he does, but Westbrook’s post-allstar numbers were RIDICULOUS so I completely understand why someone would choose him as the MVP and would not be upset if either were to win. I think Harden’s team and his individual numbers combined gives him the slight edge above Westbrook in my MVP voting, but I still think Westbrook will win, why? He has a better narrative. What’s lost in all of Westbrook’s triple-doubles is how many clutch points he’s had this season. Westbrook leads the league in crunch time in points per 100 possessions, that means when his team needs the big shot he MAKES it. He leads his team to victory. He’s won games for the Thunder by himself in crunch time and I think that combined with the triple-doubles along with how historic his season has been will give him the win for his first MVP. What a regular season, and how much better do the BASKETBALL GOD’S get by giving us, the PEOPLE, a first-round matchup of Westbrook vs. Harden. Although the voting for MVP is over, it is still entertaining and a cool story line.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s