IF STEPHEN CURRY WASN’T IN THE NBA, WHO WOULD BE MVP?
Now we all know Wardell Stephen Curry is the runaway MVP. Without a doubt, he is having one of the best NBA seasons ever seen, averaging 30.7 points per game, shooting 90% from the free throw line and 46.8% from the field. His scoring average is his personal high and he is shooting better from 3, while attempting more 3’s than he has, in any other season.
This season, he is only averaging 34 minutes, which is actually higher than last season when he won his first MVP award. But, this year he's scoring seven points more on than he did last year, talk about efficiency!
His effective field goal rating is 5 points higher this year than last. But enough about Curry, we know there is no way he isn’t winning the MVP.
He can sit out the rest of the season and still be MVP! BUT, what if he sat out all year? What if that was the case? What if Stephen Curry was playing on Mars, and this year didn’t count, who would be the MVP?
I've narrowed it down to five great players and one dark horse candidate; Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Chris Paul with my dark horse Kyle Lowry.
All having great seasons, leading their teams to winning records and definite NBA Playoff appearances.
With Curry as the benchmark, let's compare the numbers. The categories used are field goal %, points per game, rebounds, assists, minutes, turnovers, win shares, player efficiency rating, true shooting percentage, plus/minus and wins over replacement.
Durant, who was the last MVP before Curry, puts up impressive numbers. His field goal percentage is pretty equal to Curry, while he averages 3 more rebounds. Win shares over 10 and an impressive true shooting percentage, have KD as a strong candidate.
In what might be the leading man in this race, Russell Westbrook, is having his best season ever. Averaging a double-double as well as 7+ rebounds, Westbrook is a triple-double threat every night. Wins above replacement numbers are right there with Curry and so are his minutes. With win shares over 11 and an efficiency rating close to 29, Westbrook might just be our ‘Steph-less’ MVP.
Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA and doesn’t get the headlines. You may not see him on magazine covers, commercials or jumping up and down on the sidelines, he is more of the cerebral type, silent deadly and effective. He shoots above 50% from the field, has a great PER. Yes, his assists are low with only 2.5, his minutes and turnovers are some of the lowest for a star in this league. For Kawhi to make that next step into winning this MVP race, we all expect him to raise in WOR and assists. But with the Spurs, it's hard to factor in individual stats for the best player on a team that plays ultimate team ball.
What can we say about LeBron James. He’s a 4 time MVP, leads his team in many categories, and consistently makes Finals appearances. He will always be in the MVP conversation. However, when we look at stats, LeBron is a little behind in comparison to the other members of this race. He shoots an awesome 50.5% from the field and averages 25-7-6, yet he plays more minutes than needed. His numbers are great yet he falls behind Russell.
The curious case is Chris Paul. Always regarded as the best pure point guard in the league. One of the best minds on the court, who leads his team with passion and action, why hasn’t he won MVP yet? Never a score first type of player, his game makes everyone around him better, putting up 20-4-10 and a low turnover ratio. We might need CP3 to start to become a little bit more selfish to move up the ranks and show flashes of his days in New Orleans.
Now onto to my pick with the outside shot, Kyle Lowry
The Toronto Raptors are second in the Eastern Conference, as of today 2 games behind first place, and they are flying under the radar. The best player on that team, Kyle Lowry is having an outstanding season, as he continues to improve year after year. Kyle fills the stat sheet posting 21-5-6 and is one of the league's leaders in steals. He plays a hefty load of minutes but as we see in his WOR, 14.31, he is very valuable to the Raptors. His wins above replacement is equal to that of Lebron James and is higher than CP3, Durant and Kawhi Leonard. For Lowry to make that next step and raise his game to beat out the competition in the MVP race, he is going to have to be more efficient and make some noise come the playoffs.
So who is your MVP(not named Stephen Curry)? Make sure you share your thoughts with us here and on Twitter!
*Photoa via USA Today