Our basketball panel answers five questions about the MVP contenders
So who has been MVP worthy?
CJ Hampshire: I’m going to go off the board here. Curry is the obvious choice but I’m going to say Kevin Love. He’s doing amazing things. He looks like T-wolves Kevin Love. He is dominating all facets of the game. We are accustomed to think of the MVP as a scoring award but the versatility is what matters to me. Love is giving 16 points, 11 rebounds and almost 3 assists. He is the reason the Cavs are winning.
Mallory Stith-Wheat: It can’t be Love. He’s not the best player on the team. He cancels LeBron out. LeBron cancels him out. I love what Curry is doing. There is something about Curry that is so amazing and also numbingly ridiculous. His start is unprecedented. The Warriors haven’t lost a game but let’s be real. They’ve played a winless team twice. They’ve played the Kings without DeMarcus and a rebuilding Nuggets team. The Clippers game they trailed in the 4th. The Rockets had a cold Harden. And no explanation for Memphis and their effort.
Brendan Gillespie: James Harden. Dude is still the only watchable player on that team. Howard is trying to figure out who he is now that his body is failing him. Lawson has been a disappointment so far. They start Marcus Thornton. Come on now. Out of all the candidates, Harden has to work with less just like last year and he gets no sympathy.
Julian Billick: Kevin Durant after his injury looks like Kevin Durant before his injury. Westbrook has turned into an “A” level point guard which only helps Durant. When Westbrook is continually getting 11 assists a game, Durant is the beneficiary. What they are getting in their front court as far as rim protection means they’ll be up there with the top teams in the league. I say one more emotional speech by Durant.
No Blake Griffin? Why? Does Blake being a Clipper hurt his perception?
Mallory: I think Blake has great numbers this year. He’s been fantastic but he doesn’t carry the Clippers like a MVP should, meaning in the last five minutes of games he’s not posting up and carrying his team. He is too dependent upon Chris Paul.
CJ: Chris Paul hurts Blake. Blake’s personality hurts Blake. A MVP doesn’t just have a good year. He is responsible for everything his team does. Blake needed to win that game against Houston. He was great but he lost. The Clippers find a way to lose games like that. Plus that was their revenge game, to prove that what happened in the playoffs was a fluke. And they choked it away. Not to mention their small forward issue is killing them.
Julian: Nothing against Blake. I just think Harden and Durant are better and of course Curry. I think the Warriors and Thunder will have a better record. Everyone is over their Clipper angst anyway.
Brendan: Blake has these great games and his team loses. Curry and Harden have these great games and their team wins.
What about Andre Drummond? He had 27 rebounds tonight.
CJ: I love Drummond. I love that dude. He is taking the art of rebounding to a level we haven’t seen in 47 years, when Wilt averaged 19 rebounds. Add to that, he’s almost putting in twenty points. But I’ll say this. If Detroit wins that division, hands down you got to give it to him. He’s already won Defensive Player of the Year.
Mallory: The Pistons are the surprise of the league. We know Van Gundy can coach and has a system but no one figured they would put it together this quick and it’s all because of Drummond. How much do you think Howard misses Van Gundy now?
Brendan: There’s no way he can beat out Curry or Harden. He’s the greatest rebounder this game has seen since Wilt but the dude looks so awkward on his shots. I love his game. I love his attitude. If a defensive player won the MVP, that would blow my mind.
Julian: What he gives Detroit on offense can’t compare to what Curry does or Harden. I mean there’s not much degree of difficulty. This is the funny thing, though. As great as he is at rebounding, if he keeps up his current rate, it would only be 30th all time.
Don’t you kind of feel sorry for Harden? He always seems to be chasing Curry. Those back to back games of 40+ were good but Curry is so far ahead in the MVP race all Harden can do is play catch up.
Julian: Harden is like Sisyphus. You are just waiting for that rock to roll down the hill and crush him.
Brendan: Can we talk about his bad luck. He is on the Thunder and goes to the Finals and then is traded to Houston because they don’t want to pay him but they’ll pay Enes Kanter. He gets Dwight Howard and then Howard’s body breaks down. He dominates the league but Steph Curry takes his game to another level and his team wins 67 games. He gets Lawson and Lawson looks terrible. He can’t get a damn break.
Mallory: Unfortunately for Harden, Curry is better at what he does than Harden is at what he does. Curry is the greatest shooter we have ever seen. Harden is not the best scoring guard we have ever seen.
C.J.: I don’t feel sorry for The Beard. Hanging out with the Kardashians tells me everything I need to know about you.
Is it over for Anthony Davis, the one everyone thought would be MVP?
C.J.: I guess Monty Williams is having the last laugh. Defensives coach do matter. I can’t accept that the Pelicans with Davis have a worse record than the Lakers with Metta World Peace.
Mallory: The Pelicans have the same record as the 76ers. When you score 43 at home and your team loses, you’re not the MVP
Brendan: This reminds me of Jordan pre-Scottie Pippin. Great performances, great losses. So called experts aren’t experts after all.
Julian: I’m not selling Davis yet. Asik’s injury is hurting this team, particularly on defense. And of course Alvin Gentry. Davis will be in the conversation but has so much ground to make up. The Pelicans are 7 games behind the Warriors. Ouch.
photo via llananba