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Apr
16
2015

NBA: Who’s the MVP?

With the NBA season coming to a conclusion, I figured I’d try my hand at reviewing the Top 5 MVP candidates.

1. Steph Curry

23.8 ppg, 7.7 apg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 spg, 48.7% FG, 44.3% 3-pt

It has been another memorable season for the Golden State Warriors and the young Steph Curry. Steph Curry leads the NBA in 3pt field goals made with 286, a new NBA regular season record. Mind you, Steph Curry broke his own record (261) set last NBA regular season, so there’s that. Curry is also first in total steals (163) on the season, averaging 2 a game.

Although Curry hasn’t lead the NBA in scoring, he’s still managed to lead his team with his play. In the past two months, Curry has shot 50.6% from the field and 52 % from 3-pt range to the tune of 24 points, 7.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.

Curry is 1st in free throw percentage per game (91.4%), 4th in the NBA in steals per game (2.0), 6th in the NBA in assists per game (7.7) and he’s maintained to do it all with All Star counterpart Klay Thompson on the floor. While some say Thompson has a lot to do with Curry’s success, given they are “The Splash Brothers”, but if you remove Steph Curry from this roster, this team isn’t going 37-2 at home or winning a season best 28 road games.

 

2. James Harden

27.4 ppg, 7.0 apg, 5.7 rpg, 1.9 spg, 44.0% FG, 37.5% 3-pt

It seems the NBA has found its newest pure scorer in the Houston Rockets’ James Harden. Many folks were in shock and awe when Harden was traded from OKC a mere 3 seasons ago, but he’s taken into his role quite nicely, becoming the talk of the league night after night.

Harden scored 28.5 points, 7 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game across the months of March & April. He recorded 6 double-doubles and 2 triple-doubles across the two month span along with 10.2 free throw makes a game. Harden makes you pay for playing gritty defense, which makes him so valuable. He’s made 693 free throws on the season, 168 more free throws made than second place Russell Westbrook (525).

Harden eclipsed 50 points twice in March, including a 51 point performance against Sacramento where he made 8 three pointers. He’s had a highlight reel type season and his value has been solidified in Houston as they look to make a playoff run. It’ll be interesting to see if voters give him favor over Steph Curry as well, since Harden’s ability to get to the free throw line is hard to ignore.

 

 3. Russell Westbrook

28.1 ppg, 8.6 apg, 7.3 rpg, 2.1 spg, 42.6% FG, 29.9% 3-pt

Russell Westbrook literally put the Oklahoma City Thunder on his back this year, running away with the NBA scoring title by scoring 28.1 points per game. While his efforts weren’t enough to get the Thunder into the playoffs, it’s interesting to see how Westbrook has grown over time despite massive media criticism about his ability.

Westbrook had 11 triple-doubles on the season, 9 of which came after the All Star break. With running mate Kevin Durant out, he definitely upped his play. In March & April, Westbrook averaged 31.7 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals per game to lead the Thunder. However, the Thunder had a 13-9 record across this same 2 month span.

Scoring title aside, if Russell Westbrook does win an MVP award, it’s because of the 31 double-doubles and 11 triple-doubles he posted while still maintaining his point guard duties. Westbrook averaged nearly 10 assists (9.9) after the All Star break, maybe he’s not such a ball hog after all.

 

4. Anthony Davis

24.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 1.5 spg, 53.5% FG,

Fear the brow! In just his third season in the NBA, Anthony Davis is already making an impact with the New Orleans Pelicans. This season he led the NBA in total blocks (200) and led the Pelicans to their first playoff appearance since 2011.

While the Pelicans barely made the playoffs, its hard to ignore the fact Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Memphis are all in their division as well. Talk about a rough schedule, the Southwest division is the only division that had every team make the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how the Golden State Warriors handle Anthony Davis in the first round of the playoffs.

Davis has definitely been a force to be reckoned with, averaging 25.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 3.6 blocks per game across March and April to conclude the season. Davis recorded 12 double-doubles and averaged a double-double pretty much the whole season despite being sidelined by injury a few times.

 

5. LeBron James

25.3 ppg, 7.4 apg, 6.0 rpg, 1.6 spg, 48.8% FG, 35.4% 3-pt

It’s hard to ignore the impact LeBron James made with the Cleveland Cavaliers this year, although many thought they would fall apart at first. With first year head coach David Blatt, it looked like the Cavaliers would succeed with Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love. However, it was the acquisition of JR Smith, Timofey Mozgov, and Iman Shumpert (key role players) that allowed James and the Cavaliers to get over the hump and finish with the #2 seed in Eastern Conference Playoffs.

LeBron James wasn’t the dominant force we’re used to seeing down the stretch for the Cavaliers. His efficiency was definitely down this season as he shot 48% from field goal range on the season. Across March and April, he averaged 22.3 points, 8.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. While it’s hard to discredit his numbers, it’s certainly a good thing James has younger guys like Kyrie Irving and JR Smith to pick up the slack when fatigued. How far this Cavaliers team goes is still up in the air. It’s hard to say LeBron James is the MVP this season though, despite Cleveland going from 7th to 2nd in a matter of a season in terms of overall record.

 

 


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