Here are 4 reasons I believe Steph Curry deserves to be the 2022 NBA MVP despite his recent struggles. First, and by way of full disclosure, I personally really like Steph Curry. However, personal bias aside, it’s hard to deny that Steph is not just a great guy, he is also a great player and teammate and in my opinion, the 2022 NBA MVP.
There are few awards more subjective than the MVP and its hard to pin down which criteria counts more. Is it: offence, defense, team record, scoring average, scoring percentage, plus/minus, or best player on the best team, and so on… In addition, there are several great players having great seasons this year, all equally deserving of MVP consideration. A short list of other worthy MVP candidates, as of today, includes the Denver Nuggets superstar and reining MVP, Nikola Jokic, the 76rs Joel Embiid, and the Buck’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. All are respected and accomplished NBA professionals. But for the reasons I’ll share below, I think the 2022 MVP should be the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry.
- To me, three of the four top MVP candidates stand out above all the rest because their teams not only win a lot of games and are amongst the top seeds in their respective divisions, but they’ve accomplished this despite missing key players. No disrespect whatsoever towards Giannis, he is every bit as deserving to be on this list, I just feel the others had more adversity to overcome therefore it eliminates him in my opinion. And despite these adversities, Steph’s team has the 2nd best record in the entire league.
Nikola is missing Murry (top team scorer).
Joel is missing Simmons (top in team assists – plus all the accompanying drama).
Steph was missing Thompson and Wiseman, and now Green (second top scorer, only true center and top passer and defensive savant).
- Of these three, which are better at making their teammates better and attracting free agents? With a dominating powerful force in Joel, the 76rs play an inside-out game, which is 100% understandable and effective. Unfortunately, this style of play could be less desirable to some free agents. In fact, many NBA experts wonder if Ben Simmons’ style of play would ever fit. Unfortunately, he now wants out (no reflection at all on Joel), but also, Joel’s assists are far less than either Steph’s or Nikola. This is another key indicator likely considered by potential free agents considering the 76rs. On the other hand, Steph and Nikola excel at passing the ball to teammates. So, Joel is out in my book.
- Now we are down to just Nicola and Steph. As the reining MVP, there are very few flaws in Nicola’s game. He is a great person, passer and marksman, but again, his team’s style of play is not ideal for everyone, and some possible free agents may prefer a faster up and down style. On the other hand, led by the ever-running Steph, history has proven Steph and the Golden State Warriors (both as a class organization and their style of play) are a destination other talented NBA players view as desirable. Most famously, Kevin Durant, but again just this year: Otto Porter Jr., Nemanja Bjelica, and Andre Iguodala took minimum contracts just for the opportunity to play for the Golden State Warriors. In most cases these free agents rejected other options, some of which for more money and Steph is a significant reason for this.
By joining Steph, these free agents have proven his exceptional value to his team. They realize that as he gets doubled and tripled teamed, opportunities open up for teammates to get wide open shots. This makes them look good and results in winning a lot of games. He’s a humble superstar who has won multiple championships, plays a fun style of basketball (with joy!), is willing to share the ball, limelight, and the credit with his teammates. (Both Iguodala and Durant won Finals MVPs.) Steph helps teammates play better, look good (especially important to free agents resurrecting their careers), and most important, he wins championships!
- Finally, if the first three reasons above were not enough to support my assertion that Steph Curry should be the 2022 MVP, I offer one last compelling reason, the NBA plus/minus statistic. There are many NBA statistics that can be dissected and manipulated to support different narratives. However, the plus/minus simply indicates the net impact a player has on the score when in the game. If the opposing team scores ten more points while the payer was in the game, their plus/minus is -10. However, if their team scored 10 more points than the opponent while they were in the game, the player’s plus/minus is +10. A player who positively impacts a game by virtue of passing, defense, or leadership, will have a positive plus/minus even if they score zero points, as long as their team scored more points than the opponent. Conversely, a player who scores a lot of points but doesn’t contribute to other important areas will have a negative plus/minus if the opposing team scores more points while they were in the game. Currently, Steph Curry has the highest +/- number of all active NBA payers!
There are some drawbacks to the plus/minus. First, the NBA is a game of runs. Even a bad player can have a very misleadingly high plus/minus if they just happen to be in the game during a run. Fortunately, this is only a problem in the short-term. Over the course of many games, the plus/minus becomes far more accurate. Second, it can also be skewed misleadingly high if the player is on a winning team. Admittedly, the Warriors are a very good team, but this too bolsters Steph’s MVP consideration as this success can be directly attributed primarily to Steph, not despite him!
Even with multiple starters being out due to injuries this season, the Golden State Warriors currently have the second-best record in the entire league, they rank near the top in both offence and defense, and are one of the favorites to win yet another NBA championship. None of which would have happened without Steph Curry, your 2022 MVP.
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