MVP race heats up in the Association
By Peter Santo
Who ya got? Coming out of the all star break the NBA MVP race is up for grabs. Your top 3, in no particular order, probably includes the likes of Golden State PG and 3 point sharpshooter Steph Curry, the Houston Rockets’ all around scoring SG James “The Beard” Harden, or The King, LeBron James of the revamped Cavaliers.
Now, you’re probably thinking, let me look at the stats, who has the most points, assists, rebounds, and steals per game. The MVP is about more than just those on paper stats. It’s about those plays that don’t get put on the scoresheet. The true nature of the award is the player who is most valuable to his team.
LeBron has always been a premier defender who locks down his opponents on a nightly basis. He’s a great leader who is trying to guide the young Cavs to a championship. He’s averaging 25.7 pts, 7.3ast, 5.6reb, 1.5stl, and .6 blk per game.
These stats back up James’ unbelievable scoring ability, as well as his overlooked passing and rebounding capabilities. LeBron truly is an all around player, whether it be on the court as a scorer, or as a leader in the locker room.
James Harden just keeps getting better and better. Ever since the Rockets acquired Harden, he’s been the cornerstone of the franchise. Harden leads the league in scoring, and produces night in and night out. His defense has gotten better as well, considering how he has been one of the league’s worst defenders throughout his career.
Harden averages 27.2 pts, 6.9ast, 5.8reb, 1.9stl, and .8blk per game. Although primarily viewed as a scoring guard, Harden can pass and rebound the ball like that of LeBron.
Stephen Curry is having a career year for the ever-improving Warriors, as he and co-splash brother Klay Thompson have truly been shooting the lights out, as well as shooting with the lights out.
The first place Warriors have been lead by Curry’s offensive ability as well as his quick hands on defense. Curry’s deadly quick shot release and sharpshooting ability have him shooting 48 percent from the field and averaging 23.8 ppg.
Curry is also pulling down a solid 4.8rpg, and dishing out 7.9 dimes per game. His defense has gotten him 2.2 steals per game, good for tops in the NBA. His premier shooting ability has him atop the list for MVP candidates, as well as the fact that his team is leading the contender-filled West with just 11 losses.
Here is how the contenders stack up side by side statistically:
Per game stats:
James: 25.7pts, 7.3ast, 5.6reb, 1.5stl, .6blk
Harden: 27.2pts, 6.9ast, 5.8reb, 1.9stl, .8blk
Curry: 23.78ppg, 7.9ast, 4.8reb, 2.2stl, .2blk
James: 48.8 FG%, 33.2 3P%, 72.8 FT%
Harden: 45.0 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 86.6 FT%
Curry: 48.3 FG%, 40.4 3P%, 90.4 FT%
It’s a toss-up for the MVP award, so it remains to be seen if players like Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook will make a late push as a contender, or if King James, Harden, and Steph will continue to battle for the ultimate individual prize.
For now, we’ll just enjoy watching these stars continue to thrive on their top-flight teams. In the end I have Harden winning in an immensely tight race over Stephen Curry.
Mitch Canzano also contributed to this report