City Sports Report

History tells us the 2015 NBA MVP will be…


The 2015 NBA season has been an enjoyable one thus far, and with most teams through 75% of the schedule, teams are still jockeying for playoff positioning.  But amongst the league’s elite, there is a battle for the Most Valuable Player Award as well, between, in alphabetical order, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  But NBA history shows us who has the lead right now, and who will be the 2015 NBA MVP.

Imagine a season in which a player averages an astonishing 50.4 points and pulls down an incredible 25.7 rebounds.  That is what the late legend Wilt Chamberlain did in the 1961-62 NBA season for the Philadelphia Warriors, who went 49-31 that season.  Chamberlain did not win the MVP that season.

Oscar Robertson, one of the greatest players in NBA history, messed around and averaged a triple-double for the same season, with averages of 30.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 12.5 rebounds per game during the 1961-1962 season for the Cincinnati Royals, who finished the season with a record of 43-37.  Robertson did not win the MVP that season either.  Who could have possibly won the NBA MVP over a player who averaged 50 and 26, and another who averaged a triple-double of 31, 11, and 13?

Bill Russell won the 1961-62 MVP Award with averages of 18.9 points per game (a career high) while pulling down 23.6 rebounds per game.  While Russell’s numbers are impressive, they are nowhere near as phenomenal as the numbers of Chamberlain and Robertson, so why did Russell win the MVP?

The NBA MVP Award has a history of being given to players on winning teams who put up good numbers, adding value to the team’s performance, and doesn’t just look at statistics.  In the 1961-62 NBA season, the Boston Celtics were the first team ever to finish with 60 wins, finishing with a record of 60-20, 11 games ahead of Chamberlain’s Warriors.

Ironically, the Warriors moved to San Francisco, where they are now known as the Golden State Warriors, the team that the 2014-2015 MVP will come from, Stephen Curry.  Though Curry’s individual numbers aren’t as impressive as some of the other candidates, (Curry averages 23.8 points per game, below the 27.4 by Westbrook that leads the NBA, Harden’s 26.9, and LeBron’s 26.3), his .800 winning percentage through 75% of the NBA season will earn him the MVP.  If the Golden State Warriors finish the season 17-5, well below the .800 ball they have played this season, the team will finish 65-17 and Curry will win the MVP.  The surprising Warriors got off to such a great start that it became virtually impossible for anyone to catch him barring a collapse by the team, regardless of amazing seasons had by Harden, James and Westbrook.

Michael Jordan won the MVP in 1995-1996 season despite having six seasons in which he finished with higher scoring averages, (including four in which he didn’t win MVP, 37.1 in 1986-87, 32.5 in 1988-89, 33.6 in 1989-90, and 32.6 in 1992-93), not because of the 30.4 points per game he scored, but because the Chicago Bulls were 72-10 that season.  Players like Steve Nash and Allen Iverson were never the best players in the NBA, but their teams won 62, 54, and 56 games, respectively, winning their division and never finishing below second in the conference, thus earning MVP Awards.

For this, and many other reasons, barring a collapse down the stretch in their final 22 games, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors will win the 2015 NBA MVP, and, based on the history of the award, he will be very deserving of the honor.

Click here for former coach and ESPN analyst PJ Carlesimo’s take on the 2015 NBA MVP

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  1. Jason

    March 7, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I’ll believe it when I see it!….lol

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