Photo Credit: Celebrity Net Worth
It took three years, but Golden State Warriors’ point guard Stephen Curry finally didn’t win an NBA MVP award. Instead, that award went to Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who set the all-time record for triple doubles in a season and became the first player to ever finish a season with a triple double average.
But MVP and best player aren’t synonymous. While the league’s best player did win the MVP award in 2015 and 2016, that being Stephen Curry, that was not the case this season. Curry was once again the top point guard in the NBA, but the MVP award went to Westbrook, who pretty much singlehandedly carried the Thunder to the playoffs.
Sure, Westbrook’s basic statistics like points, rebounds and assists all toppled Curry’s and Curry wasn’t even an MVP finalist this past season. Don’t get me wrong; no one deserved that award more than Westbrook. But Curry had a smaller workload this past season thanks to Kevin Durant coming to the Warriors, so his statistics naturally decreased. After all, Durant averaged more than twice as many points per game in his first season with the Warriors as Warriors’ former small forward Harrison Barnes did in his final season with the team.
Yet Curry was still able to produce a points per game average in the top 10 of the league. And despite having to share the ball with three other All-Stars, including a fellow superstar in Durant, Curry still managed to put up the second highest total of three-point field goals in NBA history, trailing only his total from his record-setting season last season. His shooting percentages also smoked Westbrook’s, proving even more so that he was able to do more with less ball time despite not putting up Westbrook-like averages.
If the argument for Westbrook over Curry is the fact that he is the league MVP, don’t forget that Curry just won the award in back-to-back seasons with pretty much nobody even close to him when he wasn’t sharing the ball with another superstar in Durant. Just because his numbers weren’t as great as they had been or Westbrook’s were doesn’t mean he suddenly isn’t the league’s top point guard, especially given the fact that Durant arrived.
And just to put the icing on the cake, since rings seem to enter every argument about great players nowadays, Curry has two while Westbrook has none, and one of Curry’s was won this season despite the fact that people consider his season a “down” season since he didn’t produce statistically like he had in the past.
Well, leading a team to a historic 16-1 playoff record en route to a dominant NBA Finals series as the two-time defending MVP and current team scoring leader doesn’t exactly qualify as a “down” season in my book, and it shouldn’t in yours either. It should qualify as a season only the league’s top point guard could have, and that is precisely what it was.