Russell Westbrook taking home the NBA MVP Award was a lock, wasn’t it? A friend of mine and fellow Afternoon Nap Podcast (shameless plug) co-host Stuart Douglass said to bet the house on it. He, in fact, was too soft to bet his own house on it, but he suggested the rest of us degenerates do so.
Bet your mortgage on it https://t.co/3QWameQTQx
— Stuart Douglass (@SWD_317) November 29, 2016
Would have been a nice payday.
OK, so Westbrook had 4 to 1 odds to win it back in August — the best chance, per Bovada — but still, had you bet the house, that’s a decent return on investment.
Westbrook was crowned MVP Monday after averaging a triple-double for the entire season, the first time since Oscar Robertson did so during the 1961-62 season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder guard’s acceptance speech is worth the watch if you missed it. Westbrook actually cries, which was about as unexpected as Isaiah Thomas receiving a vote for All-Defensive Team. He was genuine, passionate and well-deserving of the award.
But, one idiot didn’t bet the house on Westbrook, and it’s the one who looks back at me when I brush my teeth in the morning.
Yes, folks, my mortgage went untouched. Thinking back, maybe I’d have bet a window or a couple sheets of siding, but not the house.
No, I went with the King himself: LeBron James.
James finished fourth in the voting, and there is certainly an argument that he could (and should) win the award every year. Nobody has ever had a grasp on the entire league like James. Former MVP Kevin Durant had to join a team with another former MVP, Steph Curry, in order to take down James. That’s leverage.
But Westbrook averaged a triple-double, and, to me at least, there was no argument for any other guy. This wasn’t some weak 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists bogus Draymond Green triple-double. No, Westbrook, all 6 feet, 3 inches of him, went for 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds over an 82-game stretch.
His efficiency was the highest of his career, as was just about every other statistic tracked by basketball-reference.com. He played his heart out to win the award and carry his sorry Thunder teammates to the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
He proved me and many others wrong, but that was his goal. It’s been his goal since he was lightly scouted as just a three-star recruit in high school. I used to not like Westbrook; didn’t think he was a winner. He proved me wrong. I love him now.
And he proved me wrong in my MVP estimation, just like the rest of the league as I shamefully look back at my preseason NBA predictions.
Sigh. Let’s recap.
MVP: Clearly wrong, although LeBron is the G.O.A.T. Don’t @ me.
Rookie of the Year: I chose Brandon Ingram, who came on late and still has maybe the highest ceiling in the class, but he only made All-Rookie Second Team, and the Lakers played basketball like Stanley Hudson. Malcolm Brogdon won ROY, and I agree.
Championship: I picked the Cavs over the Spurs, which I think would have happened had the Spurs made it, which could have, maybe (probably not) happened had Kawhi Leondard not gotten hurt by Frankenstein’s fat foot. Still, I probably put too many eggs in the LeBron basket, because the Warriors were too dang good. It was probably another house bet that I was too biased to throw down on.
Bold prediction: I thought Klay Thompson would have been traded by Golden State. Had it happened, my championship prediction would have been a much-more-likely scenario. Durant won GS the title, but Thompson’s defense was necessary. The Warriors are going to have to shift and shell out a ton of money in the next two summers to keep this dynasty somewhat intact. Thompson might not fit into that scheme. He stuck around for championship number two and may be there for number three next year — bet the house — but four, five and six may not involve the lanky forward. Table this prediction.
Until next year, when I inevitably pick LeBron as an MVP favorite again.
Also, I don’t have a mortgage. I’m broke. Please don’t take gambling advice from me.
Photo by: Keith Allison — Used via: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode