The tale of three guards in the NBA
Who you got? A question on every NBA fanatics’ mind during this time of the year. Ok maybe not every year, but definitely this year with players like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden playing at the top of their games. Let’s just get some stuff out of the way before I start, this is not a who’s the best player in the NBA article (hands down, it’s LeBron no discussion) and my favorite team is the Thunder so there maybe some bias (if you don’t like it, you can leave but please don’t we need this read). Anyway lets do this; here is a case for each player:
Stephen Curry: The only way to start this is with a quote, and we all know what it’s going to be, but still I'm going to do it. “I been Steph Curry with the shot”-Drake. You might as well just go ahead and play “0 to 100” in the background because you’re already singing it; I’ll wait. Stephen Curry has been on fire all year no doubt about it. He’s been on fire, the Warriors have been on fire, and life has been good for him this year.
He’s averaging 25 points, 9 assists, leading the league in steals, and shooting 48% from the field. Tune into any Warriors game and you will be amazed at Steph’s ability to pull up for a jumper like it’s nothing, or his jaw dropping ball skills that probably causes a few people to start dribbling in their living room (yes I meant me). Steph doesn't only have the ability to score, but he gets his teammates involved and is a double double machine. This man has a very strong case for MVP.
Russell Westbrook: My boy Russell is balling no doubt about it, there is absolutely nothing left to say, but I’m still going to go on. In the past three games, Westbrook has had three straight triple doubles and leads the league in them. Yes Ice Cube he messed around and got a few triple doubles. Every game Westbrook plays is with an unmatched intensity, that is just awesome to watch. When he gets the ball off an outlet pass, it looks like he’s being shot out of a cannon. If a defender takes one second off, he’s going to get destroyed.
Russell is averaging 26 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and is only behind Anthony Davis in PER (you have to be currently in the playoffs to be in this article, otherwise AD would definitely be here). Russell has been a baller for a couple of years now, yet it has always been as the very eccentric and emotional Robin to KD’s very quiet Batman. Now that KD has been out, basketball fans have got to see how Russell is carrying a team. He has stepped up tremendously in this role and is carrying every Oklahoma City fan’s playoffs hopes on his back.
James Harden: Fear the beard! Every night players who have to defend this man should have nightmares for weeks. This would be the day I take my sick day, or whatever LeBron does every other week. It’s crazy to think that only a few years ago, Harden was the 6th man for the Thunder, and now we talking about him for MVP. James Harden has always been a scoring machine, it’s in his nature, but this year it’s different. Yeah, he still does his super efficient and super annoying move where he dribbles the ball impossibly low and drives to the basket drawing a foul about 60 percent of the time.
What is different this year though, is the fact that he is actually playing some defense. Don’t let the internet fool you, Harden has actually been playing D. He’s averaging a career high in blocks and steals. I think he read all of the tweets going to his phone. His offensive stats are all career highs too. He’s leading the league in points and is averaging 7 assists and 6 rebounds. With Dwight being out for the most of the season, Harden has really had to step up his game, not only as a player but as a leader, and he has answered that call. Harden is a great candidate for MVP.
Verdict: Let me just say that this is the going to be the closest MVP race we’ve seen in a long time. I respect all of these players immensely and I’m not saying one is better than the other, this is just who is more valuable to their respective teams. When it comes down to value to the team, Curry’s argument becomes weaker. He’s playing on the best team in the league, and they have been firing on all cylinders. When Curry has an off night, he can easily pass the ball off to Klay who is one of the best 2 guards in the league and let him take over. Westbrook and especially Harden don’t have that luxury.
When KD is healthy then this changes, but for the majority of the year, and from now to the playoffs it’s all on Russell. With Harden, he has to bring his A-game every night. This is why Harden is my MVP. These players are so neck and neck that this is the only category that separates them. Harden has lead the Rockets to the current third seed in the West and plays like an MVP every game. In the name of the award Harden wins, he is the Most Valuable Player.