Draymond Green: Russell Westbrook Earned 2017 MVP by Carrying ‘Horses--t’ Thunder

Adam WellsMay 14, 2021

NEW YORK - JUNE 26: Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder after winning the Most Valuable Player of the Year award at the 2017 NBA Awards Show on June 26, 2017 at Basketball City in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

Amid some revisionist history about how deserving Russell Westbrook was of being named NBA MVP for the 2016-17 season, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has spoken out in support of the voting from that year. 

Speaking to The Athletic's Sam Amick, Green said he "had no problem" with Westbrook's MVP win because he carried an Oklahoma City Thunder team that was "complete horses--t" into the playoffs. 

Green brought up Westbrook's MVP season to support the argument that Stephen Curry should be included in the conversation this year. 

During the 2016-17 season, Westbrook joined Oscar Robertson (1961-62) as the only players in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire campaign. He led the league in scoring average (31.6 points per game), along with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest. 

His primary supporting cast that season included Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis before they became All-Stars, as well as Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson. 

Westbrook beat out James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James in MVP voting that year. He was also helped out by the narrative of leading the Thunder to the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference after Kevin Durant left to sign with the Warriors. 

Some advanced metrics showed Harden and Leonard were more valuable than Westbrook that season. Westbrook was third among that trio with 13.1 win shares, trailing Harden (15) and Leonard (13.6). 

Even in the immediate aftermath of the voting, there wasn't a strong consensus around Westbrook's MVP win. 

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said he would have voted for Harden if the Houston Rockets had been the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. (They were third in the West, behind the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.)

The accomplishment of Westbrook's triple-double season looks less special now because he's done it three more times in the past four seasons.

Oklahoma City lost to Harden's Rockets in the first round of the 2017 playoffs in five games.