The NBA 2015-2016 MVP Race|
Much of the sports media sites like to talk about the MVP race, and often list a few players. And while there are a number of fantastic players having MVP-caliber seasons, it is rather silly to suggest that anyone other than Steph Curry can be in the MVP discussion.
Before we reveal his stats, let’s quickly list a few players whose names have been tossed around the MVP discussion: Steph Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant.
While it is true that all 6 of those players are playing very well, none come close to the historic excellence of Curry’s seasons. Check out his stats: 29.8 points per game, 6.5 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. If those numbers weren’t amazing on their own, check out shooting percentages: 51% from the field and 45% from 3. Even more amazing is that he is shooting over 10 3’s a game.
There has not been a season this great in terms of shooting. It’s no wonder why pundits are already referring to Curry as the greatest shooter ever, along with backcourt mate Klay Thompson, who is also already considered to be a historically great shooter.
Although to be fair, Michael Jordan technically had a better shooting season in 1987-1988, when he poured in 32.5 ppg on 53% from the field, however, he only shot 28% from 3.
In terms of the rest of the “MVP candidates”, I would say it doesn’t really matter. They don’t come close to Curry. Instead, we should be asking who will win the NBA Finals this summer, because it would be truly very surprising if anyone other than Curry received an MVP vote in June.
There are only two things which can stop Curry from winning the MVP: a serious injury, or a superhuman LeBron James down the stretch.
In terms of the injury, this is a more serious matter with Steph Curry. Although he has remained fully healthy the last 3 years, keep in mind that he once did suffer from serious ankle injuries early in his career (to the point that he signed a way below market value contract). I feel that Curry is always at risk of reinjuring himself.
Now consider the fact that teams will be gunning for Curry. If the Warriors can maintain their pace for 70+ wins, teams will certainly play tighter defense in an effort to stop them. This includes tighter defense on Curry, with big centers closing off driving lanes in an effort to stop him from getting to the hoop. It wouldn’t be surprising if Curry was knocked down in the paint at an increasing rate in the next few weeks.
The last aspect is LeBron James, and his ability to take over games. The Cavs are going to make sure that they win the first seed in the East, to make their playoff run a bit easier, with home court advantage. This means a motivated LeBron James, who might carry the offense with increasing frequency.
If Curry’s minutes diminish as the season wears on, then his numbers will go down. And if the opposite happens with LeBron, his 25 points per game may suddenly jump to 26 or 27. Coupled with his impressive 50% from the field, he may be able to steal away a few MVP votes.
Ultimately, however, this race is Curry’s to lose. The real question is, will it be a unanimous decision?