Choosing this year’s MVP is going to be tough. This season has been full of remarkable performances so far. In fact, currently there are nine players averaging at least 26 points per game, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, DeMarr DeRozan, James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Isaiah Thomas. Never in the history of the NBA have nine players averaged 26 points, EVER. In no season ever has there been 5 players average more than 28 points per game. So far this season, there are six.
James Harden is averaging 12.24 assists per game, the highest average since assist king John Stockton averaged 12.33 in 1994-95. The last time two players averaged more than 11.3 assists was 1990-91, when two decent players named John Stockton and Magic Johnson did so. Harden and Westbrook are both averaging more than 11.3 assists per game.
Jimmy Butler currently has a PER of 29.62 and is 5th in the league. The next highest PER of any player ranking 5th in that category in any season was in 2005-06 when Kevin Garnett recorded a PER of 26.81. LeBron James is 10th in PER at 26.68, higher than any 10th place PER finish, EVER. The next highest 10th place PER finish was 24.09 in 2006-07 by Carlos Boozer. In short, this season has a ton of amazing individual performances going on and someone is going to have a statistically superior season without winning an MVP this year. It is possible that Russell Westbrook could average a triple double and not be the MVP. It’s possible James Harden could average 30 points and 12 assists and not win the MVP. Lebron may have a career high in assists and win another championship and not win an MVP.
The MVP Race today:
Thunder record: 11-8
Westbrook has simply been phenomenal and the Thunder has shown that with Westbrook, they can still make noise in the West Playoffs. An historic triple-double average will be good enough to win the MVP even if his team is not in the top three spots in the West.
Rockets record: 11-7
Harden has been a revelation in D’Antoni’s offensive system. The Rockets are reminding us why they were in the West Finals just two seasons ago. No player other than Westbrook is as important to the success of his team than Harden.
Warriors record: 16-2
Durant has been the best player for the best team so far this season. Curry has been good, but it is Durant that is carrying the Warriors. Durant’s 1.6 blocks has been a pleasant surprise and his added rim protection makes it easier to see the Warriors win it all, even without Bogut in the middle.
From a scoring standpoint, Lebron is averaging his fewest points since his rookie year, while still having a spectacular season. His 9.7 assists would be a career high and his all-around play and leadership on a team looking poised to win another championship cannot be overstated.
Davis has been spectacular without much help from the rest of the Pelicans. With Jrue Holiday back, they are at least competitive, but history has shown that if your team is not in the Playoffs, no matter how spectacular the numbers, there will be no MVP trophy.
Also considered: Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Damian Lillard