The Pioneer

The MVP case for Stephen Curry

ILLUSTRATION BY BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

ILLUSTRATION BY BRITTANY ENGLAND/THE PIONEER

Erik Khan,
Contributor

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Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry’s stellar play during 2015 NBA season is why he is the most deserving player to receive the 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player award.

Fans of Rockets shooting guard James Harden and Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook may beg to differ, but the key statistics say otherwise.

Curry’s current net points rating of +873 stands as the best single season total in NBA history. The net points statistic measures how many points a player’s team scores when he is on the court versus the amount his team gives up. It reveals the overall impact that a player’s performance has on the outcome of the game by considering offensive and defensive contributions.

Curry’s rating is followed by two other Warrior teammates. The next closest non-Warrior player is Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul who has a rating of +686.

This simply means that throughout Curry’s 2,565 minutes spent on the court this season, the Warriors have outscored opponents by 873 points. Westbrook’s rating is +199 and Harden’s is +320. Their points minus their opponent’s points combined is still a mere 354 points behind Curry’s mark.

What makes Curry’s net points so high? His lethal ability to unleash a three-point shot from anywhere on the court at any moment. Curry set the NBA record last week for most three pointers made in one season, at 281. Teammate Klay Thompson is next up with 223.

The 3-point shot is the single most momentum-changing play in the NBA, and Curry is the master of it.

Countless times this season, when the Warriors were on the verge of being put away by an opponent, Curry stepped up and nailed this game-altering shot. Even when the opponents know it is coming, they still seem unable to find a way to defend him effectively.

Last Thursday versus the Portland Trail Blazers, Curry was 8-13 from three-point range and finished with 45 points. It was much of the same on Saturday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves where he added five more threes and scored 34 total points.

The Warriors had a comfortable lead throughout both games and in the end won each game by at least nine points. Whenever the opposition would get close, Curry would nail a three and push the lead back in the Warriors favor.

That has been the case for much of the 2015 season as Curry has led the Warriors to an NBA best 66-15 record. That’s a 11-game lead over Harden’s Rockets and a 22-game lead over Westbrook’s Thunder.

What is so amazing about the Warriors’ record is that they are consistently squashing opponents by 10 or more points. This normally causes Curry to watch from the bench while the backups play the fourth quarter.

He averages about 33 minutes a game. With their teams still vying for playoff position, Harden averages nearly 37 minutes per game, the second highest in the league and Westbrook averages above 34 minutes a game this season.

It would be logical to credit the Warriors’ incredible success to head coach Steve Kerr and his coaching staff. However, this is his first season as head coach, so I think it would be a little premature to anoint him as the driving force behind their success.

That driving force has undoubtedly been Curry as he has done everything you could ask of an MVP. Looking for highlight plays? Curry felicitously hits circus layups he has no business making, often while being fouled.

He also has the tendency to make opponents look foolish on the court with his filthy ball handling skills. Just ask Chris Paul, the most recent sacrificial victim Curry punished to display his talent on the court.

All you’ve got to do is log onto your preferred social media website to see a clip of Curry make Paul trip over his own feet.

When you break down all the statistics, they are clearly in Curry’s favor. How could you choose Harden or Westbrook for the award when they rank one and two in shots missed this season? You couldn’t. The MVP is Curry.

Give the man the hardware.

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