One thing’s for sure; if Steph Curry ends up winning the 20/21 regular season MVP, it’ll set a new precedent in the NBA’s 64-year-long tradition of giving the award. But that didn’t stop Magic Johnson from singling him out as his favorite.
It’s hard to deny Steph Curry from being the NBA’s MVP! He is the #1, #2, and #3 option for the Warriors and is STILL dominating!!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 19, 2021
What would be the precedent for Steph taking home his 3rd MVP? Winning, or lack thereof. Coming off Saturday’s loss to the Celtics, the Warriors are 29-28, sitting ninth in the West. They are on pace to win 37 games in a shortened 72-game season. If Curry is to win the award, assuming Golden State’s winning percentage stays the same, he would join Russell Westbrook as the only MVP in the last two decades whose team hasn’t reached a 60% winning threshold.
In fact, ever since ’56, when the NBA started giving the award, only two MVP winners came from a team that won fewer than 60% regular-season games — Moses Malone in ’79 and ’82, and Bob McAdoo in ’75. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob Pettit took it a step further, winning the MVP on teams with losing records.
The latter is off the table in today’s NBA. However, doing what Moses, McAdoo, and Russ have done isn’t. Their MVP cases were based on individual numbers overshadowing the lack of team success. Steph’s argument is along the same lines.
Curry is averaging a career-high 31 points – nearly a point more than his unanimous MVP season in ’16 – along with 5.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He’s shooting 49.1% from the floor, 42.7% from three, and 92.2% from the charity stripe, all with Klay Thompson sidelined with an Achilles injury. Over the last ten games, during which the Dubs are 6-4. Steph is averaging 39.1 points on 54.6/48.9/90.1 shooting splits.
This season required something a little different. I’m trying to meet that moment.Steph Curry, Yahoo Sports
So far, he’s been able to do it. Will it be enough to secure Steph his third MVP? Probably not. But is it also fair the NBA put Curry ninth on its latest MVP ladder? It probably isn’t. And the worst part is, he wouldn’t have even been there had it not been for the injuries to the rest of the guys in the MVP discussion.
That’s why the award in and of itself lacks context. The greatest shooter ever and one of the all-time great players is having his career year, with no star power on the roster, and the best the NBA can do is put him ninth in the MVP race? It’s ridiculous, and Magic Johnson agrees. I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s the favorite, but he sure deserves to be higher than No.9.