MANILA, Philippines – Oh, what could have been.
At one point in basketball history, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant all wore the same colors under one roof as part of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Today, all 3 have gone their separate ways, and all 3 are NBA MVPs.
The 2017-2018 #KiaMVP is… @JHarden13! #NBAAwards pic.twitter.com/7fw8xsx7pu— NBA (@NBA) June 26, 2018
Harden, now with the Houston Rockets, took the title right from the grasp of Westbrook, who won it last year after averaging the first triple-double season (31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists) since Oscar Robertson in 1962 or 56 years ago.
Westbrook may not have cracked this year’s top 3 MVP finalists (or even the All-NBA First Team), but he went ahead and clinched his second-straight trip-dub season anyway. No biggie.
Lastly, there’s Kevin Durant, the reigning back-to-back Finals MVP from the Golden State Warriors and the first of the OKC trio to win a season MVP back in 2014. Throughout the years, despite his ever-controversial move to the stacked Warriors, “KD” has maintained his instinctive and lethal scoring prowess and translated it to two straight NBA Championships.
At this point, we repeat: They once all wore the same colors.
In the perfect coincidental twist, Durant, Westbrook, and Harden were drafted in the same order (2007, 2008, 2009) that they eventually won their respective MVP plums (2014, 2017, 2018).
Durant was first:
Westbrook was second:
With the 4th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Seattle SuperSonics select, Russell Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/SrHlsj9ZTf— ThrowbackHoops (@ThrowbackHoops) June 21, 2018
And Harden was third:
Looking back, it’s saddening that the Seattle Supersonics/OKC franchise had the perfect draft night triumvirate, and only had a 2012 NBA Finals appearance to show for it. There, they lost in 5 games to the much more experienced LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
And in that year’s offseason, Harden was traded to the Rockets for a package surrounding the now-retired Kevin Martin. The Thunder instead opted to re-sign defensive big man Serge Ibaka – the Thunder’s management decision that ultimately sealed the trio’s breakup. Ibaka has been traded to two teams since then, finding little success in the process.
The rest, as they always say, is history. – Rappler.com
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