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Food for Thought: Russell Westbrook for Most Improved?

Even though Russell Westbrook has already been a star in the NBA for several seasons now, he has erupted into arguably the best player in the entire league this season. So why shouldn’t he be in the talks for the most improved? This award is flawed in the fact that it doesn’t give an opportunity to already proven players, giving off the idea that once a player has already proven himself as an elite player in the league he isn’t able to improve more than players that haven’t reached that level of achievement yet in their careers. Westbrook makes an interesting case for the award, and should at least be considered for the award.

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

This season Westbrook has been, statistically, the most productive player in the league, showing improved play in his all-around performance from any other season in his career. He improved his scoring output by almost seven points and his assisting and rebounding numbers by almost two per game in each category. These improvements are just as good, if not better, than the leading candidate for this award in Jimmy Butler.

Yet that isn’t all of Westbrook’s improvements this season.

Last season Westbrook recorded two triple doubles over the course of the entire season; a feat that only 12 players managed to accomplish this past season. In this past season Westbrook recorded an unreal, 11 triple doubles; that is one more than the league leader in triple doubles from the two previous seasons combined (Lance Stephenson 5, Rajon Rondo 5). Improved much? I’d say so.

In addition to triple doubles, Westbrook also had 31 double doubles this season; 20 more than the season before. Jimmy Butler had four double doubles this season, one less than he had in the previous season. And with Butler averaging around four more minutes per game than Westbrook, it shows how drastic this difference is.

Photo via: cdn.solecollector.com
Photo via: cdn.solecollector.com

Russell Westbrook has shown improvement more than anyone else in the league, and it makes it even more amazing that his numbers were already tremendous to begin with, making it harder to improve upon vs someone who only averaged just a shade over ten points per game.

Although Russell Westbrook has shown the most improvement over this season, there are other stars that have shown drastic improvement that won’t get the shot at most improved as well. Pau Gasol, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson, were all players whose increased numbers greatly helped his respective team during the season, and allowed that team to have a much better record than the season prior. Yet despite these improvements none of these players will be able to win the most improved award, simply because they had already looked upon as stars in the NBA.

Russell Westbrook has shown improvement more than anyone else in the league, and it makes it even more amazing that his numbers were already tremendous to begin with, making it harder to improve upon vs someone who only averaged just a shade over ten points per game.

No matter whether he can win the award or not, Russell Westbrook is the most improved player this season, no doubt about it.

 

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