Hello Smash fans, I hope you all are having a great week. In this installment, I want to talk about the difference between MVP and most valuable player, and then based on the answer, determine who should be the MVP this year.
First off, the MVP may stand for the most valuable player award, but that is not who the award has been given to in the modern era. If this was the case, Steph Curry would win the award this year, Lebron would have won the award in the 2017-2018 season, and Hardan probably would only have one top-two finish in the MVP race. However, this is not the case, the truth is that the MVP award has its own criteria.
To win the MVP, you need to be a superstar and usually need all of the following three traits but you have to have at least two of the following three traits, you need outstanding stats, a great narrative, and a winning team. You have to do all of that while playing almost all the season and avoiding voter fatigue. If you take all of the above into account and look throughout history, this criteria holds throughout the modern NBA. To illustrate my point, let us take a look at the past five MVPs.
The 2020 and 2019 seasons both had Giannis Antetokounmpo as the MVP and in both years the Bucks were at the top of the east, the Greek Freak had an amazing statistical season, and he had the narrative of potential threat to take the best player in the league title from LeBron. In 2018, Harden won the MVP because he was averaging over 30 points a game, and the Rockets had the best record in the west, and he had the narrative of being denied the MVP in the previous three seasons. Now 2017, is an instance of where having one of the best narratives and statical seasons of all time pushed a candidate over-the-top despite not filling the winning criteria. This candidate was Westbrook.
A lot of people have forgotten that averaging a triple-double wasn’t the only reason Westbrook won the MVP. 2017 was also the year after Durant left for the Warriors, so Russell had everyone’s sympathy. Not only that but the Thunder also were projected to be terrible by almost every person on the face of the earth that year. One of the above scenarios would have created a great narrative, but you add all three together and you get one of the best narratives of all time. This narrative along with the fact he was averaging a 30 point triple-double and the Thunder still have a servable record, finishing 6th in the west, allowed Westbrook to claim the MVP year. Finally, in 2016 Curry ran away with the MVP by leading his team to a 73 and 8 record well as forever changing basketball in the process.
Now that we have defined what the MVP award really is, let’s take a look at who should win it. First, we have to eliminate all but the top four seeds in each conference because no one has an all-time great narrative this year. Now, we have to eliminate the teams that don’t have a superstar-level player. This leaves us with 3 teams from each conference as both the Hawks and Jazz don’t have superstars. Now you need to eliminate the teams where their superstar missed a substantial amount of time. This eliminates the 76ers, the Nets, and the Clippers. This now leaves three teams in the race the Bucks, the Nuggets, and the Suns, however, because of voter fatigue Giannis is out. This leaves two teams the Suns and the Nuggets. The superstars on these two teams are Chris Paul and Nikola Jokic, so let’s break down their cases.
Out of the two players, Jokic has by far the better stats averaging almost the same amount of assists as CP3 while averaging over 10 rebounds. Additionally, the Jocker is averaging over 10 points more than the Paul. So round one clearly goes to Jokic. Now the narrative is pretty equal because even though this is the second team we have seen Chris elevate to the playoffs from the lottery, Jokic is doing what no big man has ever done before and he would be the first big man to win the award in over 15 years. Finally, the Suns are the more successful of the two teams with a 3 game lead over the Nuggets at this point. With all of the above in mind, it is pretty clear that Jokic is the MVP, so please stop hating and just start appreciating.
Thank you Smash Fans for sticking with me until the end. If you want to talk about this topic or any other topic sports-related, please email me or text me using the information on the contact page. If you want to support me even more, please consider following my Spotify as well as subscribing to my youtube channel and blog for weekly podcasts and articles. Additionally, a big shout to my good friend Aanika Dalal for being so supportive during the process of building up this blog's community. Until next time, PD Smash signing off.