By: Opinionated MJ
The Early MVP race:
Stephen Curry VS Russell Westbrook
We’ve gone about a week into the season and we’ve already seen quite a few mid-season performance from all around the league. Last night, Andre Drummond posted 25 points and 29 rebounds, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant Posted 48 and 43 points respectively combining for 91, and Stephen Curry has been a fire that continues to burn more and more furiously as each game comes and goes. They all said he wasn’t real. They all said that the championship the Warriors fought for was a fluke. They’ve said a lot of things but we’ve received a taste of what would’ve been, it just decided to be in place at the beginning of this season.
I’ll start with health since that was the biggest outcry from people who denounce the championship won by the Warriors. Stephen Curry has already faced the Rockets, Grizzlies, and the Pelicans (TWICE). He’s currently facing the Clippers which is the team everyone thought they would’ve faced, but the fact that didn’t happen definitely isn’t the Warriors or Curry’s fault. That’s all 3 opponents they seen en route to the NBA Finals. This time, the opposition (of the Warriors) had all of their point guards healthy. Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, a combo of Ty Lawson and Patrick Beverly, and none of them could stop Steph Curry. If anything, they did worse than they did last season and post season trying to stop him. He’s been a wrecking ball since tip-off. They’ve been playing without Steve Kerr and it’s as if it doesn’t matter who their coach is. They continue to keep dealing the total package to opponents. If they stay healthy throughout this season the same way they did last season, I honestly expect to see them only challenged by the Thunder and Spurs but still fully able to come through with a Finals berth.
This takes me to Russell Westbrook. The Thunder just lost to the Raptors but my case with Russell is more individual than team oriented. Russell being able to play last season with all of his new teammates gives him a leg up on Durant when it comes to chemistry with the team and also knowing where he can pick his spots without being a detriment. If anything, the Thunder are Russell Westbrook’s team this season (and last). Durant is like a scoring Scottie Pippen to Westbrook’s driven, assassin-like Michael Jordan. He’s been facilitating, he’s been the reason they won a double overtime game against Orlando. In that game, something weird happened. Russell was the reason why they put themselves in position to win that game with Durant surprisingly sitting on the bench. Russell has been his usual self but he’s also been who we’ve always wanted him to be since the Thunder made that trip to the Finals.
I believe Russell Westbrook may be the reason why the Thunder have a chance at winning the title also. I’m very interested in seeing how he and Steph Curry matchup. That is looking to be a very exciting game and if that would be a playoff series in the west, it could look to be the best series of the playoffs no matter which round it’s in. The growth of Russell Westbrook is the probably the third biggest story this season behind the question of whether Steph Curry can get another MVP award (it’s looking that way) and whether the Warriors can repeat and shut up all of their naysayers. Russell Westbrook’s story could prove to be the most intriguing if he can land an MVP award, facilitate the Thunder in a way that he’s always been expected to, and also lead them to a much overdue championship. Yes, LeBron always looms in the lowly east conference with teams still figuring out their way. Anthony Davis is still a dark horse MVP candidate depending on if the Pelicans can spread their wings or not. Russell Westbrook has the ice-cold veins and newly found pacing to actually impress and run away with the award if he can get momentum and get his team some major wins along the way. James Harden is the self-proclaimed and the MVP of the players association but he’s got major flaws that proved Steph Curry to be the one truly deserving. It’s already showing. Who do you have for MVP? My ballot goes to Steph Curry. Russell in 2nd.