If you look at the odds, Vegas has the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Dončić as the NBA’s front runner for Most Valuable Player of the 2020-21 season. Recent history would tell us that the front runner ought to be Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is coming off back-to-back MVP awards and a Defensive Player of the Year award.
If you’re looking for a dark horse candidate to win this season, scanning way down the list on Vegas Insider you’ll find high profile names like De’Aaron Fox, Chris Paul, and Bam Adebayo. And while any of those players have what it takes to put up absurd stat lines on any night and lead their team to a place in the postseason, they won’t be getting the award. This year Stephen Curry will earn the third MVP award of his career, but it won’t be on the back of a gaudy team record.
Steph Curry can score
Curry’s otherworldly shooting and handles are going to be the driving force. Curry has already shown his propensity to blow up early on in this pandemic riddled season we find ourselves in. Through nine games, Curry has already put up five games with 30 or more points. In the second game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the 2015 and 2016 MVP put up a career high 62 points in 36 minutes. The man is shooting nearly 40 percent from three, and doing so at Damian Lillard range as well. While he has yet to uncork the half court shot he challenged Lillard to, every team has to respect the man’s offensive capabilities as soon as he crosses half court.
Curry can also find the open person for the assist. Whether in the half court or from way downtown, Curry has a knack at finding the flashy dime. How many times have you seen the highlight of his full court behind the back pass to Kevin Durant? Enough to know that he can pull that off whenever he needs to. Through the first nine games, Curry is averaging 6.8 assists per game, just a little higher than his career average. While his supporting cast doesn’t include Durant or the reinjured Klay Thompson, there are still plenty of big playmakers who can find their way to the bucket. Kelly Oubre Jr. is going to have to find a way out of his early shooting slump, but when he does he’ll become a weapon Curry should look to regularly.
When Curry is on, Warriors Win
Steph Curry can get buckets. He’s also on a team that picks up big games here and there as evidenced by wins over the Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers. As impressive as his ability to score is, it also helps that he is on a team that will likely end in the playoff picture. They may not finish 73-9 or even in the top half of the western conference playoffs, but this is a team that beats enough teams to finish in that 6-8 spot. Being good individually is important, but getting your team the victories they need and bucking low expectations is just as crucial.
So expect Curry, if he remains healthy, to be the MVP this season. The man is a walking bucket; he’ll find his open teammates for timely assists; and he’ll drag the Warriors back to the playoffs they once ruled for a half decade. If you put money on Luka, Anthony Davis, Giannis, Lillard, or any other NBA superstar, it’s well within your right to do so. Maybe it makes more sense. But Steph Curry is going to be on one this season and I think he gets that third MVP award when all is said and done.