Russell Westbrook put together arguably his best season since he won MVP in 2017 with the Wizards in 2020-21.
He averaged a triple-double for the fourth time, helped lead the Wizards to the playoffs and broke the NBA's all-time triple-double record. Oscar Robertson, the man whose record he broke, believes Westbrook should've gotten MVP buzz last season as well.
"I look at Westbrook, and he got triple-doubles this year and no one even noticed it, they didn't think it was such a big deal," Robertson said on The Knuckleheads podcast. "I think that's totally unfair. I think he should have won [MVP] again. If he [averaged] a triple-double again, and he didn't win [MVP], so why keep stats then?"
A quad injury hampered Westbrook early on in his first and only season with Washington, but once he got healthy there were few players as productive as he was night-to-night. However, all it warranted in the MVP race was one third-place vote.
Nikola Jokic ultimately won the award thanks to an incredible season where he averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists on a Nuggets team that finished third in the Western Conference. Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Paul rounded out the top five finishers for MVP.
So while Westbrook had a case with the way he stuffed the stat sheet, it wasn't enough for voters. To Robertson, the way voters perceive Westbrook's triple-doubles is the only thing holding him back from more hardware.
"I think he's a great basketball player but for some strange reason some of the sportswriters are saying things like 'Oh he got another triple-double, but they got beat,' Robertson said. "So what? If you look at it, only one team wins it every year."
Westbrook will have to make another MVP case elsewhere next season, as he's set to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers next season with hopes of competing for a championship.