Stephen Curry: Your Unanimous MVP?

7210 hatWe could be on the verge of NBA history and I’m not talking about the Warriors breaking the Bulls regular season record of 72-10.  This will be history of another sort.

Since 1980-81, a select panel of sports writers and broadcasters has determined your NBA MVP.  We can argue about how much sense that makes.  Clearly these people watch a lot of basketball but they must have better things to do than watch each one of James Harden’s 3000 minutes played this season, not to mention those played by the several, other potentially MVP-worthy candidates.  We can only assume that those who the league entrusts to make such decisions are doing their due diligence.

No player in the history of the NBA has ever won the award unanimously, meaning no MVP has ever garnered every first place vote from every voter.  Not Michael Jordan, not Larry Bird, not Magic Johnson, not anyone.

Two players have come close to winning the award unanimously: Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 and LeBron James in 2012-2013.

Shaq mvpIn 1999-2000, Shaquille O’Neal finished with 1207 out of 1210 possible votes for MVP.  He received 121 out of 122 first place votes.  In one of his most dominant seasons, he averaged 29.7 points (his career high) and 13.6 rebounds per game.  Needless to say, his Lakers won an NBA championship that season.

Despite those numbers, he didn’t pull home every first place vote.  Allen Iverson, who by most accounts had himself one hell of a season, just perhaps not an MVP-caliber season, received the stray first place vote.  Sports journalist Fred Hickman was the lone outlier, opting to be the only person to not cast a first place vote for Shaq.  He recalls getting death threats for his deference.  Who knew Lakers fans could be so inspired?

In 2012-13, LeBron James, like O’Neal before him, received all but one first place MVP vote.  Carmelo Anthony received the other, which sounds laughable at this point.  LeBron finished that season with 28 ppg, 8 rpg, 7 apg and shot over 56% from the floor.  His Miami Heat won the championship that year as well.

LeBron mvpCarmelo’s Knicks actually made the playoffs that year (will miracles never cease) with ‘Melo leading the league in scoring (28.7 ppg) but he shot a Melo-like under 45% from the floor.  The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn was the lone person (1 out of 122) to vote for Carmelo and did so based on his importance to his team.

In case you’ve been living under a rock this season, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors has been redefining hot.  Sofia Vergara hasn’t been this hot (okay, that’s a lie).  Hansel wasn’t this hot.  The damn equator of the sun isn’t this hot.  (Does the sun even have an equator?  I don’t know.  I got a C in astronomy).

By all legitimate accounts, Steph Curry is the best player in the league.  He’s putting in shots from anywhere on the court with dazzling regularity.  He’s become the face of the league.  He’s the league’s best player on the league’s best team.  No panelist in their right mind could conceivably think, by any contorted or personalized definition of the award, that any player has been more valuable than Curry has been to these 2015-16 Golden State Warriors.

We should also consider that Curry is considerably more likeable than the previous two, who pulled all but one vote.  O’Neal had just abandoned Orlando for Los Angeles a few earlier and LeBron had just made his rather unpopular decision.  While these two were highly marketable superstars, America wasn’t as much in love with those two as they currently are with Curry.

steph nba mvpCould these Warriors made the playoffs without Curry?  Sure.  But this team is and has been on the verge of history all season.  They are now one inevitable win away.  So which ridiculous sports writer, who must know he’ll be the only person NOT voting for Steph Curry, is going to make a name for himself?  Who will be the odd man out and who could they conceivably vote for?

James Harden was narrowly bested by Mr. Curry in the MVP voting last year and is having another impressive season despite how mediocre his Rockets are.  But he’s not having a better year.  His Rockets are on the verge of missing the playoffs.  Kevin Durant is third in the league in scoring, behind Curry and Harden.  But one could make the argument that teammate Russell Westbrook is having the better season.  Westbrook is leading the league in triple-doubles this year with 16, which also makes Oscar Robertson chuckle.

Damian Lilliard, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas could and should all garner MVP votes… but not first place MVP votes.  There is just no way and yet… it’s never happened before.

Need further proof other than just the eye test that Curry passes with flying colors?  In the even more ridiculous stat department, Curry leads the league in Player Efficiency (defined by the NBA as ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) – ((Field Goals Att. – Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. – Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)).  Curry also leads the lead in other inexplicable statistics as offensive win shares and value over replacement which I won’t get into because I’ll probably just hurt myself and I’d like to keep your attention for a bit longer.

The bottom line is this.

We’re going to have one writer, one journalist, one rebel try to explain to you why Steph Curry wasn’t the most valuable player this season.  And if they do so, they’ll be wrong.

Steph’s Warriors are on the verge of making history.  Steph should be too.

14 thoughts on “Stephen Curry: Your Unanimous MVP?

  1. If he fails to win the award then it would be to be the biggest travesty since Karl Malone on the League MVP over Michael Jordan. It had to be seen as a pity vote more than anything else.

  2. Al…

    There’s a difference between winning the award and winning the award unanimously, which no player has ever done.

    He’s going to win MVP. I don’t think there’s any question about that.

    The question is whether one voter (or more) will find another player to give their first place vote to before him.

  3. Chris

    The adjudicators (judges) are the individuals . we should be worried about, because we’re told or should I say , we’re led to believe, they are knowledgeable about the game of basketball ? If they are anything like Stephen A Smith , then I would rather take up watching and listening to the tele-evangelists and some of their nonsensical bull$hit. More often than not, their insights into the game is biased garbage and offers the fans very little hindsight.

    This season there have been no credible challengers to the dominance of Steph Curry. LeBron James is having something of a down-year playing on a Cavaliers’ roster that is nowhere as good as many thought they would be. DeMarcus Cousins has become as combustible as a stick of dynamite . Kevin Durant has put up solid numbers with the Thunder but the team has been playing second-fiddle all season long to the likes of the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.

    NBA Coach of The Year comes down to the three credible candidates , Brad Stevens , Billy Donovan and Steve Kerr. And I believe Kerr should be given the nod over the other candidates. Notable mention to Dwayne Casey.

    I see the best the NFL can come up with concerning the death of Will Smith , is to offer their condolences to his family and the usual pragmatic and rhetorical bull#hit statement. It was basically the same thing after the death of Sean Taylor. Let me pose this question , how and when the fu@k will the league (NFL) wake up out of its comatose state and show they have some balls ? All I ever hear from fans and the league hierarchy , are some of the most inane reasons concerning a social issue which has been plaguing the country for the last four decades.

    Now we have Bill Clinton proving of late , what an @sshole he just happens to be when it comes to the criminal justice system. This being the same President, who brought in some of the most draconian laws when it comes to drug possession , the use of a firearm, specifically aimed at minorities and now he’s trying to excuse his actions . Never mind the fact while stumping for his wife, he is suggesting she has more of an insight concerning crime and punishment . One of the most laughable suggestions he’s made , since stating he didn’t have sex with Lewinsky and asking the press to actually define the meaning of the word ” sex” .

  4. At this point, it shouldn’t really matter to Steph or us. We all know this is his magic year – I’ve never looked at vote counts. I always knew Bird was a bad-ass when he was kicking ass year after year just like I knew Olajuwon was the best center in the world in his prime.

  5. Totally agree with you on Olajuwon, Moose.

    In a pretty center-rich NBA, Olajuwon rose to the top time and time again against the likes of Ewing, the Admiral and a young Shaquille O’Neal. It’s why I rank him as the fourth best center of all-time behing only Kareem, Wilt and Bill Russell.

    But the question remains. Was Curry’s season magical enough to warrant history, making him the league’s first EVER unanimous MVP.

    This is gonna be interesting.

  6. It’s interesting , because we will get to see whether or not the voters will have the balls to do what is right. Chris , let me pose this question to you , the year Karl Malone won the League MVP , do you honestly believe he had a better season than Jordan ?

  7. Bleed…

    I actually think the likeability factor is key here.

    Everyone loves them some Curry.

    What I do wanna hear, however, is the person who chooses not to vote for Curry and go with someone else… I wanna hear that reasoning.

    I mean, who else could they legit pick?

  8. “Who knew Lakers fans had so much passion?”

    OMG I had to stop right there and laugh.. so true.

    My wager is that Curry will miss by two votes because there will turn out to be two douches who will vote otherwise simply to deny Curry the unanimous vote. You know how those sportswriters can be.

    Good column Chump!!

  9. Tree…

    Lakers fans are gonna get even more passionate, aka butt hurt, when Durant tells them he doesn’t want to play there next year.

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