The NBA has named Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook MVP for the 2016-2017 season. The 28-year-old point guard received the award at a league ceremony tonight, culminating a year that included setting the single-season NBA record for most triple-doubles.
“I got a long list of people in Oklahoma I want to thank,” Westbrook said before listing several groups of professional staff and calling for Thunder teammates to join him on stage. “It was an amazing season. (…) I want to give a special thanks to the fans in Oklahoma city.”
Westbrook recognized his family by saying, “I can’t thank you enough.”
The Thunder become only the ninth franchise in NBA history to have more than one player be named league MVP. Former Thunder star Kevin Durant received the honor for the 2013-2014 season before leaving Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors last offseason.
Durant and the Warriors won the NBA title earlier this month.
With Durant gone and a revamped lineup that featured Victor Oladipo and rookie Domantas Sabonis as starters, Westbrook put on a show all season. He totaled 42 triple-doubles, breaking the previous record held by Oscar Robertson.
Westbrook set career-high totals in points per game (31.6), rebounds (10.7), free-throw shooting (84.5 percent), three-point shooting (34.3 percent) and free-throws per game (10.4). He tied his 2015-2016 assist average with 10.4 per game.
Earlier during Monday night’s inaugural TNT NBA awards show, Westbrook also received the Best Style Award and an award for Game Winner of the Year. Oladipo was recognized for the year’s top dunk:
In one of several emotional moments during Monday ormer Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams received the inaugural Sager Strong Award owing to his poise following the death of his wife in an Oklahoma City car accident.
“OKC you are here tonight. What happened in your city was not your fault,” Williams said during his speech.
Recent Thunder news
Coming off of a Russell Westbrook MVP season, the Thunder selected Terrance Ferguson with the 21st overall pick in last week’s NBA draft.
The Tulsa native went to high school in Dallas and played last season professionally in Australia instead of attending college. As a 6’8″ wing who can shoot and defend, Ferguson could offer versatility as he develops as a young player.
The Thunder will once again field an NBA Summer League team in Orlando, with the first game being scheduled July 1. That’s the same day that NBA free agency opens. Longtime Thunder wing and defensive stopper Andre Roberson is a restricted free agent, and former Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson — acquired in-season via trade — is also able to sign with other teams.
Roberson was named to the NBA’s second team all-defensive unit Monday.
Westbrook is currently signed to only one more guaranteed year with the Thunder, so his contract status is garnering questions, too.