A few days ago it looked like, despite the MVP race becoming suddenly tight, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook were still the front runners to win the award. A few days later, after Kawhi Leonard made Curry look merely human, it looks like James Harden and Chris Paul are making strong claims for the award. It looks like the Splash Brother and The Furious One (Westbrook) regressed in their drive towards the award. Suddenly there are pundits entertaining the idea of Harden as the front runner. I beg to differ.
I have been a staunch critic of The Beard as THE league MVP. There is no doubt that what he is doing this season is truly special. He is having the best season of his career and racking up highlight upon highlight in the process. This season Harden has been the clear cut leader of the Houston Rockets and he has driven the Rockets to the 2nd place position in the very competitive Western Conference. Still, he isn’t the MVP. As great as he has been this season, the season isn’t over yet. The Rockets have only 2 games on the 6th place Spurs. They can very easily end the season in 6th place. On the other hand, nobody is going to catch the Warriors for the top seed in the entire league. Another great point is in the style of play. There’s no doubt that Curry could easily have averaged a higher rate in Points Per Game but with the Warriors’ average win margin being over 10 points Per Game, he sat out more minutes than Harden did. For the record, the Rockets’ average win margin is just over 3 points Per Game. Curry is having the most efficient and effective production in comparison to all the other MVP candidates by a clear mile. Another knock on Harden is that he continues to live off the foul line but we have seen that it doesn’t really translate well in the Playoffs when competition tightens up. In a matchup between any of the other candidates, Harden’s Rockets will still be underdogs. Would you pick the Rockets to win in a 7 game series against the Thunder? How about the Clippers? The Warriors? The Spurs? The Grizzlies? Maybe you would. But you’d be on the wrong side. The Rockets are going to be underdogs in the Playoffs. You can quote this article when it happens.
Despite the valiant push this past week but all the trailing candidates, the leading man is still without a doubt Stephen Curry. Barring any record breaking run to end the Regular Season (and I welcome such a run), Chef Curry will be our Regular Season MVP. Hopefully all the candidates finish strong because they are all very special athletics and fans favorites globally. If you don’t like this competition, you don’t like basketball. Let’s go!