Westbrook and Harden
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (L) smiles as he and former teammate and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (R) share talk after an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Bill Waugh

The Houston Rockets have the third-best record in the entire league in the 2016-2017 NBA regular season. Because of the feat, Rockets superstar and leader James Harden thinks he should win the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award over rival Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The debate on who should win the 2017 NBA MVP award has picked up in the final weeks of the regular season even as both players impressed with their triple-double feats and other impressive stats.

Westbrook is now the owner of the NBA’s all-time record with 42 triple-doubles for a single season. He broke the record previously owned by Oscar Robertson, which had 41 triple-doubles in the 1961-1962 NBA Season. That NBA season was the first and only time a player averaged a triple-double until Westbrook achieved the feat this season.

However, Robertson, who played for Cincinnati Royals that year, did not win the NBA MVP award. Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics was named the NBA MVP that season.

The Celtics had a record of 60-20 while the Royals’ record was at 43-37. The Celtics went on to win the NBA title that year when Russell averaged 18.9 points, 23.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in the regular season. The steals and blocks numbers were still not being kept by the league at this time.

Meanwhile, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game. OKC’s Westbrook has similar numbers this year with 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game for the Thunder, which will face the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets in their final games of the regular season.

"I thought winning was what this is about. I’m not going to get into depths, but I thought winning is the most important thing,” Harden said to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

If Harden wins the NBA MVP over Westbrook, it means that the voters would have valued Harden team’s win-loss record compared to Westbrook team’s performance this year. The Rockets superstar has averages of 29.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists this season.

Harden and Westbrook were former teammates with the Thunder for three seasons, from 2009 to 2012.

The Rockets have a 54-26 record so far while the Thunder are at 46-34. Interestingly, the Rockets and the Thunder will be facing off in the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference.

Westbrook has the better stats than Harden but the latter has led his team to the third-best record in the league. Which superstar deserves to win the NBA MVP award this season?