Russell Westbrook Wins 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player Award

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder brings the ball up the court against the Houston Rockets during Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals game of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 25, 2017 in Houston, Texas. 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.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was the brightest of individual stars during the 2016-17 NBA season and was recognized as such Monday with the league MVP award.

Westbrook beat out fellow finalists Kawhi Leonard and James Harden at the NBA's awards ceremony in New York City. The win marks the UCLA product's first career MVP.  

Marc J. Spears of ESPN's Undefeated provided the final voting results: 

Westbrook was thrust further into the NBA spotlight during the offseason when former teammate Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors. Durant's departure ensured Westbrook would be the face of the only professional franchise he has ever known, and he responded with a season for the ages.

He led the league in scoring (31.6 points a night) and broke Oscar Robertson's record with 42 triple-doubles in a single season. Westbrook also joined Robertson as the only players in league history to average a triple-double for the campaign thanks to his 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists a night.

Westbrook's ascent up the triple-double record book dominated discussion during the season and served as the backbone for his MVP candidacy:

There have always been concerns about Westbrook's efficiency, but he even provided some answers there by shooting a career-best 34.3 percent from three-point range.

It is a testament to Westbrook's ability that he still led the Thunder to 47 wins and the No. 6 seed in the daunting Western Conference even without Durant. While his playoffs ended much earlier than he hoped with a five-game loss to the Rockets in the first round, the MVP is a regular-season award.

Westbrook was a tour de force of pure individual brilliance and was rewarded in kind as the MVP.