Discover more from Josh off the Press
My pick for NBA MVP! As well as other NBA Honors and Awards I'm giving out.
X.) For the 2016-2017 Season <10th OP>
I. Intro: The Choice for MVP
II. The case for a player on the Warriors to be MVP (10,9,8)
III. Other interesting Choices for MVP (7,6,5)
IV: Top 4 MVP Picks (are all 4 really worthy of this award?)
V. All NBA Honors and other individual awards
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I. THE CHOICE FOR MVP
This is an All-NBA Column, focusing mostly on who should win MVP. I cover 10 guys and make a case for their MVP and against their MVP (it is numbered in descending order, not necessarily based on how I’d rank them, but rather based on flow and ease of reading). One dis-qualifier I have in MVP talks is that your Team needs to have made the playoffs, hence why *Anthony Davis "The Brow" isn't getting the love with an MVP blurb from me, even though I think "The Brow" is one of the 5 or best 6 players in the League right now.
II. THE CASE FOR A PLAYER ON THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
10-Kevin Durant, 6’9* Forward Golden State Warriors, 10th year in the league (overall player ranking between 2-5) *(listed as 6’9 but really 6’11 or 7’0)
Season Stats: 62 out of 82 games played: 25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists 2 blocks and 1 steal per game & 53% shooting percentage
The Case for KD: The best player on the best team with tremendous all around numbers!
Ultimate Disqualification - Kevin Durant missed too many games a total of 20 due to injury and there are at least 4 guys that unequivocally had better seasons than him, thanks in no small part to his recent injury. Plus there are another 7-8 players who were more productive over-all thanks to them being healthy throughout the season; 2 of whom are on his current team IE- Draymond Green and Steph Curry. I don't count Klay Thompson, here. While he has had a very nice season (again), I just don't even remotely consider him in MVP Talks.
9-Draymond Green, 6’7 Forward Golden State Warriors, 5th year in the league (overall player ranking between 12-20)
Season Stats for Draymond: 76 out of 82 games played: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 1.5 blocks per game & 41% shooting percentage
The Case for & against Draymond: A glue guy who probably will get a first place vote because enough sports journalists are that arrogant and think that highly of themselves that this would actually be a good idea. Not that it is a bad idea, just there are clearly 4 candidates that stand out head and shoulders above the rest.
8-Steph Curry, 6’3 Guard Golden State Warriors 8th year in the league (overall player ranking between 3-7)
Season Stats for Steph: 79 out of 82 games played; 25 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2 steals per game. 41% on 3pt shooting (a dip from 45% in 15-16 and 44% in 14-15)
The case for Steph: He's still the reigning two time MVP.
Ultimate Disqualification: Can you now say 2nd best player on your own team and 3rd best Guard in the league? Not even good enough to make the 1st All NBA Team. Even if you went to a Top-5 best players format (regardless of position), he'd still only come in 6th or 7th place on that list this Season.
Here is info on how Curry and Durant have hurt each other’s future MVP chances. http://hoopshabit.com/2017/04/03/golden-state-warriors-ruined-mvp-case/
Speaking of which
TOP 8 GUYS IN THE NBA RIGHT NOW:
2,3,4,5 in no particular order; James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant
6, 7, 8, in no particular order; Anthony Davis, Steph Curry, Chris Paul
Players 9-15 Way too hard to tell, really could be 9-25 or 30 the league is so deep right now.
III. OTHER INTERESTING CHOICES FOR MVP (none of whom will even finish in the Top 4)
7- Giannis Antetokounmpo aka Greek Freak, 6’11 Forward Milwaukee Bucks 4th year in the league (overall player ranking between 9-20)
Season Stats: 80 out of 82 games played; 23 points, 9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2 blocks, 1.5 steals per game and 52% shooting percentage.
The Case for the Greek Freak: Giannis will more than likely get a first place vote, hence why I will include him, even though I don't see how he is more worthy of MVP than my Top 4 Selections. The case against him: Other than 4 other players definitely are having better seasons than him (5 if you include *Anthony Davis)
*Anthony Davis 6’10 F/C of the New Orleans Pelicans, 5th year player; Season Stats: 76 out of 82 games played; 28 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, and 2 assists per game, and 50% shooting percentage.
You could make a stronger case for other players who are on teams that won more games as well. Granted, I know that there is more competitive parity in the league this year than it has been in a while, but your team only won 42 games finishing tied for 13th place in the League (in a 30 team league) that just doesn't cut it.
6-Isaiah Thomas, 5’9 Guard, Boston Celtics, 6th year in the league (overall player ranking between 10-20)
Season Stats: 76 out of 82 games played; 29 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal per game, 44% shooting percentage, all 5’9 of him (among the shortest players in NBA history).
The Case for Isiah Thomas: Sorry, even though he's the best player on the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, I don't believe in considering a player for MVP that is all offense, and a total 100% defensive liability. (There have been other MVP Candidates that are defensive liabilities, none as bad as Thomas, though).
Ultimate Disqualification - This article makes a case for why Isaiah Thomas should not be playing the 4th quarter for his team, especially when they are protecting a lead. http://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/celtics-isaiah-thomas-is-a-fourth-quarter-killer-but-which-team-is-he-killing/
5- Chris Paul, 6’0 Guard, LA Clippers, 12th year in the League (overall player ranking, between 6-10)
Season Stats: 61 out of 82 games; 18 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 48% shooting percentage.
Career Stats: 19 points, 10 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2 steals on 47% shooting percentage.
The Case for Chris Paul: On paper Chris Paul has been one of best point guards the league has ever seen. Why he won't - he missed too many games (21 total), there are other guys having better seasons than him & he has too much of a reputation for being a major d**k! Ultimate disqualification - Chris Paul might not even make the 3rd Team All NBA. There are that many good guards in the League now, that you could probably make 3 All NBA Teams for Guards and still leave some amazing players off.
NOTABLE GUARDS WHO MIGHT NOT BE RECOGNIZED AS ALL NBA THIS YEAR
Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson some of these guards might even get some MVP Votes, even if they aren't garnering first place MVP Votes. And you can rank each one of these guys somewhere between 12-25, no bums here.
OTHER CUTE PICKS/NON-GUARDS - I could see people voting for (even if they too aren't garnering first place votes) Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward and DeAndre Jordan. The only locks I see to make an ALL NBA Team among these 4 studs is Anthony Davis & Rudy Gobert
IV. TOP 4 MVP PICKS (are all 4 really worthy of this award?)
4- Kawhi Leonard, 6’7 Forward San Antonio Spurs 6th year in the league (player ranking between 2-6)
Season Stats: 25.5 points, 6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals, .7 blocks, 485% shooting percentage.
The case for Kawhi Leonard: The best player on the second best team. A team that has won 61 games, yet has only Kawhi as there All-Star! Not only that, but he is the epitome of a two way player. The first or 2nd best perimeter defender in the league, and is #10 in Scoring in the League averaging 25ppg (1 spot ahead of last year’s scoring champion, Steph Curry). If you were to make an argument for best player on best team (given the Warriors don't have anybody that quite qualifies for MVP this year) than by default you'd give it to Kawhi
The case against Kawhi: There really isn't one that is all that great, other than the narrative of putting Westbrook and Harden neck and neck (being former teammates on OKC) is oh-so much more compelling. That and Kawhi is still young, and people probably think he's got time to get this award. In fact Kawhi reminds me of the mid to late 90s Utah Jazz teams, where the fans that loved their game were all about textbook basketball. If you loved the Jazz when they made those finals runs, you probably think Kawhi should win MVP.
Here is a compelling case as to why Kawhi should be MVP. http://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/2017-nba-mvp-race-the-definitive-case-for-kawhi-leonard-the-silent-superstar/
3- LeBron James 6’8 forward, Cleveland Cavaliers, 14th year in the league (Player Ranking #1)
Season Stats: 74 out of 82 games played; 26.4 points, 8.7 assists, 8.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, .6 blocks per game; 548% shooting percentage.
Career Stats: 27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.6 steals, .8 blocks per game and 501% shooting percentage.
The Case for LeBron James: He is still the best player in the league. An all-timer, depending on your list he's anywhere from one of the 3 greatest ever, to 5 greatest ever, and at least Top 10 ever. How can you not respect the GOAT of this era? On track for making 10 straight All NBA first Teams, and 11 first teams in a 14 year career so far, and 2 other second teams. Just wow! This has been his league since he jumped in. He has been the GOAT since 09 (sharing it with Kobe at first) and no-one can hold a candle to him. Dude made 6 straight finals, and is favored to lead his team to a 7th straight one. If that does happen, he will have been in 8 finals in 14 years. Meaning he'd be in the Finals nearly 60% of the time throughout his career. Amazing!
The Case against LeBron: His team nearly imploded in March, has had two really bad losses to the Hawks just last weekend, and now he is again taking Games off. A month ago I'd tell you LeBron was my MVP, but March really went that poorly for the Cavs. So bad in fact, that I no longer think it's a forgone conclusion that the Cavs make the Finals this year for a rubber match against the Warriors.
Colin Cowherd is always & forever in LeBron’s Corner. http://www.foxsports.com/nba/gallery/lebron-james-nba-mvp-cleveland-cavaliers-playoffs-russell-westbrook-triple-double-041317
THE TWO FRONT-RUNNERS!
2- James Harden aka “The Beard", 6’5 Guard, Houston Rockets 8th year in the league (Player ranking between 2-5)
Season Stats: 81 out of 82 games played; 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals, .5 blocks and 44% shooting percentage.
The Case for Harden: A team projected to only win 41 games, has finished the season with 55 Wins. The third best record in the league lead by the Beard himself. Eye Popping, tremendous numbers. If he does in fact win the MVP I will have 0 qualms about it, b/c he is totally deserving. Not only that but many people believe it's the Rockets that have the best shot at toppling the Warriors to get into the Finals (not the Spurs or anyone else). I can see people that are sticklers for the rule, if your team is not contending for a Title, then you can't be an MVP pick, and by default flocking to Harden, but still.
The case against him: Unfortunately, I am a sucker for the best narrative and this season I will remember as the Season that Durant dipped out on the Thunder and this is why I'm picking this guy--->
1- RUSSELL WESTBROOK! 6’3 Guard, OKC Thunder, 9th year in the league (player ranking between 2-5)
Season Stats: 32.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, 1.6 steals, .4 blocks, 42% shooting percentage. Averaged double digits in points, rebounds and assists, also known as a triple double. Had a record 42 triple doubles in one season.
The Case for Russell Westbrook: My pick for MVP went absolutely bonkers playing out of his mind, and quite frankly became the most exciting player to watch in the league. I am disappointing I didn't go see him live when he came to NY or BK. B/c it would have been incredible. After saying just 3-4 weeks ago that I would not pick Westbrook, I am changing my mind and going with him. Triple-doubles aside, the dude brings it every single game. He has had a remarkable conclusion to this season, and one of the most important/underrated factors I see is that most of the players in the league, if they had a vote - would vote for Westbrook.
What is there not to love about this highlight real article on Westbrook?! https://theringer.com/russell-westbrook-triple-double-nba-season-ae9d5ed9dafb
The case against him: This season was a bit reminiscent to me of Kobe's 05-06 season (the season in which Kobe Scored 81 points in a game), one in which I said many times that Kobe absolutely should have won the MVP that year. https://www.si.com/nba/2016/01/22/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-retiring-81-point-game-anniversary . The parallels, are that Westbrook is the end all be all for that team, which in some ways isn't always that good. Thunder are a stronger team than you'd initially think. They were projected to win 44 games and they ended up with 47.
Then again they could have been much worse, they did after-all lose their former MVP Player in Kevin Durant to free-agency this last off-season. Just what sways me the most is not only is recent heroic performances the last couple of weeks, but just how so many retired stars are pulling for him hard.
And his teammates clearly love him. I don't know if I see that same type of love Harden's teammates have for him. These things matter to me. But then again, based on everything I wrote, logic would say that either Harden or Kawhi should win the MVP. But, Sports fans aren't logical we are emotional, and I have seen few players connect with fans on an emotional level the way Westbrook has this season.
And this is why RUSSELL WESTBROOK IS MY MVP!!!
V. ALL NBA HONORS, and other individual awards
All NBA First Team
G- Russell Westbrook (OKC)
G-James Harden (Hou)
F-LeBron James (Cle)
F-Kawhi Leonard (SAS)
C- Anthony Davis (NO)
All NBA Second Team
G- Steph Curry (GSW)
G- Isaiah Thomas (BOS)
F- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil)
F- Draymond Green (GSW)
C- Rudy Gobert (Utah)
All NBA 3rd Team
G- John Wall (Wash)
G- DeMar DeRozan (Tor)
F- Kevin Durant (GSW)
F- Jimmy Butler (Chi)
C- Karl Anthony Towns (Min)
Toughest Omissions: Kyle Lowry (G), Chris Paul (G), Damian Lillard (G), Gordon Hayward (F), Paul George (F), Nikola Jokic (C), DeAndre Jordan (C). Easiest Omissions: Dwight Howard (C), DeMarcus Cousins (C)
All NBA Defense 1st team
G- Marcus Smart (BOS)
G- Andre Roberson (OKC)
F- Kawhi Leonard (SAS)
F- Draymond Green (GSW)
C- Rudy Gobert (UTAH)
All NBA Defense 2nd Team
G-Chris Paul (LAC)
G-Tony Allen (Memphis)
F- Michael Kidd Gilchrist (Charlotte)
F- Paul Millsap (Atlanta)
C- Anthony Davis (New Orleans)
Toughest Omissions: DeAndre Jordan (C), Greek Freak (F), Kevin Durant (F), John Wall (G), Jrue Holiday (G), Danny Green (G)
Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) - Draymond Green, (Golden State Warriors)
Runner Up for DPOY: Rudy Gobert, 7’0 Center Utah Jazz, 4th year in the League (Top 15-20 player) Season Stats: 14 points, 13 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, .6 steals, 1.2 assists; the anchor of the under-rated and unsung 51-31 Utah Jazz (tied for 5th best record in the League)
6th Man of the year: Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Rookie of the Year - Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers). I don't care that he only played 31 games. Yes, I do like the rookie on the Knicks, but I can hardly remember his name and he's on my team. Everyone else, is already forgotten in my mind. Most of the writers I see that are worth their salt say Embiid is the guy, too! http://www.espn.com/blog/marc-stein/post/_/id/5071/steins-rookie-of-the-year-joel-embiid
Most Improved Player - Giannis Antetokounmpo aka Greek Freak (Milwaukee Bucks)
Least Valuable Player- Carmelo Anthony of NYK (just kidding...kind of!)
Coach of the Year – Gregg Popovich aka Pop (San Antonio Spurs). There are a number of good choices here, but Pop is a bonafide Wizard. Losing Tim Duncan to retirement and replacing him with Pau Gasol and only dropping 6 additional games the following season going from 67Ws to 61Ws with the same crew of geriatrics and only one super-star/all-star in Kawhi Leonard
Executive of the year – Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors. Whoever was so fortunate to sign Durant this past off-season was going to win this award.
Player I'm most excited to see enter the league (just so long as he doesn't join the Knicks): LONZO BALL of UCLA. Can't wait for his dad LaVar Ball to stir up more shit and create more drama. Just don't need it in NY. Dolan does enough picking fights with Knicks legends like Charles Oakley!
Even Sir. Charles Barkley knows there's going to be some fire-works happening next season thanks to this Father & Son Combo!
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