MVP Roundtable: Curry comes in third, Jokic becomes lowest pick to ever win
Curry's phenomenal season feels like it deserves more accolades... or does it?
Stephen Curry is human. You can see his shoulders slump in frustration, or his head hang in disappointment. But the longer you watch him, you begin to realize just how much he does. Constantly in motion, probing, getting held off ball more often than the refs hold their whistles, there is no Warriors offense without Curry.
Still though, even with Curry, the Golden State Warriors didn’t even make the playoffs, in a league where more than half of the team’s advance. It was a structural failure that crumbled any realistic aspirations Curry may have had for his third Most Valuable Player award.
Too bad this thing isn’t called the “Player Who Had the Best Season” award, because Curry would have been a lock for the PWHBS. Alas, congratulations Nikola Jokic!
Apricot: Okay I’m not too mad about it, because MVP is a bs award anyway. That’s why no one tries to define what “valuable” means. I’m just glad the season narrative moved from “Steph got exposed, he is just Steve Novak with an All-star cast carrying him and a cute mom” to “Gosh, Steph is playing like an MVP but we all committed to Jokic early and he hasn’t done anything to lose the vote”.
Here was my final MVP ballot btw:
Duby: It’s always bothered me that there isn’t any sort of guidance on the MVP voting, other than a minimum number of games played. I get it though. Draymond Green had a higher net impact than Curry this season, and there’s always some sort of weird outlier. But there seems like there could be room for some middle ground. How much did the Warriors’ poor overall season reflect on voting for Curry? My get tells me “a lot” - and I’m not sure that it’s something that shouldn’t matter. There’s a ceiling limit to how “valuable” any single player is if their team doesn’t even make the playoffs (extenuating circumstances very much included).
But overall? No problem with Curry coming in third behind two players that pushed their teams higher in the power rankings. I’m so unbothered, that I’m not even making any sort of chart to compare; this clearly wasn’t just about player impact.
Ivan: Nikola Jokic is critically involved in every offensive possession of the Denver Nuggets, and they’re absolutely terrible when he’s not. You know who else this describes? STEPH CURRY!! I guess MVP voters only care about on-ball counting stats and don’t care about things like gravity! And also, Jokic carried his team to a 3-seed, while Curry’s team missed the playoffs! Wait, that’s not helping my argument. Editors, please delete that last sentence, thanks.
[editor’s note: We will not, Ivan! In fact, look at how amazing Jokic’s story is: the lowest draft pick (by a lot) to ever win the award. We’re happy for the guy!]
Ivan: Also of note: Derrick Rose getting more MVP points than LeBron James, 10 years after the last time it happened? You love to see it.
Duby: That Rose vote stands out as pretty egregious to me. I know the official line is that he got it as a result of fan voting, but they need to Zaza rule that premise beyond the edges of reality.
Nate P. was too busy single-handedly saving America’s education system to participate formally in the round table, but he did provide some background into that Rose vote (which is extremely hilarious, or wildly offensive, depending on how seriously you take this whole MVP exercise.
Did someone write a bot that was able to stuff the online ballot box? Does Rose actually have a secret basement-dwelling cadre of super fans? In either case, it’s ludicrous that he garnered more votes than Luka Doncic, LeBron James, and tied for first-place votes with Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Also interesting is the emergence of centers. Not only is Jokic the first center to win the MVP in two decades, but the runner up (Embiid) signals one hell of a year for big men. Is it a trend? And does it put even more importance on the development of James Wiseman?
Whatever. In many ways, this just wasn’t the team’s year. Anyone who watched shouldn’t need another piece of hardware in Curry’s hand to understand that he’s our most valuable player.
These awards don’t get me too lathered up, but I’m fine with Jokic winning. He’s fun to watch play. What I really like about this ‘era’ of big men is how different they are from past generations’ versions. Adding the 3 bomb to their repertoire is more than a little wrinkle. The only way to really abuse these guys is to switch on them and to exploit their slowness. Watching the NBA evolve around these increasingly sophisticated skill sets is great entertainment. Jokic/Embiid/Giannis are good examples of why I enjoy watching the NBA a now more than 20+ years ago. Helps to have my local team win some championships though to keep me engages ;).
OT: the draft. I know Belilaugh at minimum has made it clear he would hate it if we picked Davion Mitchell at #7-8, but after watching his latest video breakdowns with Mike Schmitz, I have to say I’m intrigued. He’s such an elite defender Schmitz broke his O and D into two separate vids:
Donovan Mitchell with the D of GP2? We could do worse. The draft also seems to be deeper in wings than in primary ball-handlers, so — if we’re lucky enough to get two picks, knocking wood — we could still nab a versatile big wing at #14 (say, Wagner or Duarte?)