If you ask the teammates of legitimate MVP candidates who they think should win the award this season, they’re of course going to pick the guy on their own roster.
In any case, Andrew Bogut did exactly that recently, and when talking up the merits of Stephen Curry, also said that in his eyes, the race wasn’t even close.
From Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group:
… coinciding with Houston’s James Harden putting up huge numbers has been some discussion about why Curry might not win. One reason revolves around his usage, as he averages just under 33 minutes per game. Only previous award winners Bill Walton (33.3) and Steve Nash (34.3) come close to that figure.
Warriors center Andrew Bogut put it another way as far as the minutes being an indicator of why Curry should be MVP rather than something that should be held against the point guard.
“He only needs to play 25, 30 minutes, and we’re winning games by 15, 20 points,” Bogut said Tuesday after Curry scored 33 points and dished out 10 assists in a win at Portland. “If he had to play 45 minutes for us, I’m sure he’d be averaging greater numbers, so in a way, it’s kind of flawed. He’s the MVP in my opinion. We’re the best team in the league. We have the best record in the league. I don’t think it’s close in my opinion.”
Curry has been sensational this season, and there’s no argument to be made that he hasn’t been the most fun to watch. And, as the best player on what’s essentially been the league’s top team all season long, he may very well come away with the award once the year is finished.
But Bogut is wrong that the race isn’t close; in fact, it’s the closest it’s been in years.
James Harden’s case is perhaps even stronger than Curry’s, because he’s absolutely carried the Rockets in Dwight Howard’s absence. Harden has put up more 40-point games than anyone else this season, and has made more free throws (606) than any single player has even attempted; Russell Westbrook is the current leader in attempts (behind Harden) with 539.
And speaking of Westbrook, he’s single-handedly dragging the Thunder to the playoffs, while racking up an insane amount of triple-doubles — even if some are more dubious than others.
There’s also Anthony Davis to consider, and (oh yeah) some guy named LeBron James.
To me, it’s a two-man race between Harden and Curry. My hypothetical vote would go to Harden, but it would be difficult to find reasons to be upset if Curry ends up with it, just as Bogut expects.