Gary Payton Says Russell Westbrook Should Win MVP

by April 13, 2015

Gary Payton knows how to talk. He practically made a living doing so as a player, becoming one of the League’s most renowned trash-talkers during a 13-year career that included nine NBA All-Star appearances, one Defensive Player of the Year award, two All-NBA First Team placements and one Championship ring. Nowadays, he literally makes a living running his mouth, making frequent TV appearances on FOX Sports 1 to provide his opinions on all things basketball.

While at Jordan Brand’s Terminal 23 gym for the announcement of the NBA’s new marketing partnership with PepsiCo (which will make the food and beverage company an official partner of the NBA, WNBA, D-League and USA Basketball), we asked The Glove to explain his MVP pick for the 2014-15 season.

He took it from there:

I’m a little different about what the MVP is considered to be. I’m thinking that when a guy who has a team already, and has a lot of players on his team and they’re a front runner—that guy isn’t considered the MVP unless they’re putting up great, great, great numbers. Like [Anthony] Davis—if he wouldn’t have gotten hurt, I think he would’ve been the MVP in my book. They’re in the 8-seed right now, and I think they could [make that Playoffs], but that’s the type of basketball player I’m seeing as MVP, when you have numbers like that with points, assists, rebounds, blocked shots, and then you get your team in the Playoffs, that’s the MVP to me because you put that team in there.


But right now, the three that’s gonna be there are Westbrook, Harden and Curry. If I would have to pick right now: What Westbrook has done is amazing, what he did with the triple-doubles. I don’t like that he shoots a lot to get the points, but he’s done a great job. I would give him the edge right now, then it would be Curry, and then Harden. But you don’t know what’s gonna happen.


What Westbrook has right now in that team, he doesn’t have Durant right now. So this is the way they’re winning basketball games, with him [shooting a lot]. But the good thing about it is he’s getting assists in rebounds, too. He’s getting a triple-double. It’s a total game. So with the 43 [shot attempts on Sunday], I think that was a little too much last night. I think you’ve gotta get the other players more involved. When you [take 43 shots], you get everybody to watch you, and I don’t like the watching. You’ve gotta cut it down to about 25, 26 shots per game.