What is an MVP?
Is an MVP the best player on one of the best performing teams, or is it the player who carries his mediocre team with high statistical outputs? This is a question that is discussed among NBA fans and media alike, one that will probably never be truly answered.
In the 2005-06 NBA season, many believed that the MVP award was a no-brainer. Here’s some trivia: Who should win the MVP award in this season?
Player A: 18.5 points per game, 10.5 assists per game and his team finished with a 54-28 record.
Player B: 35.4 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 4.5 assists per game and his team finished with a 47-35 record.
This is easy, right? Player B takes the cake. Well, if someone were to guess that then they would be utterly wrong. Player A, also known as Steve Nash, won the 2005-06 NBA MVP over Player B, also known as Kobe Bryant. This was also the year that Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors.
There are many other instances where a player with less impressive stats took an MVP trophy over another player because of his team’s record. Just for the sake of another example (trust that there are plenty, or look it up if you don’t believe me), Derrick Rose took the cake over LeBron James in the 2010-11 NBA season.
Rose averaged 21.8 points per game and 7.9 assists per game. James averaged 26.7 points per game, 7.0 assists per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. The difference maker was their team records, with the Chicago Bulls finishing 62-20 and the Miami Heat finishing 58-24.
Paul George vs. James Harden
In the 2018-19 season, there is similar turmoil to that of past MVP awards. So far there have been many fan debates on Twitter as well as debates in different sports media discussing who is more worthy of the coveted NBA MVP trophy. Is James Harden or Paul George more deserving? Many would say Harden should be a back-to-back MVP based off of his 36.3 points per game and 8.2 assists per game on 44 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. However, the Houston Rockets are sitting in the fifth seed in the Western Conference and are only three games ahead from being the ninth seed with a 29-21 record.
On the other hand, George has been the best player for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season and is averaging 27.1 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc. The Thunder are currently the third seed in the West with a 32-18 record, four games back from the one seed.
So the question begs, which player is more valuable? Most would think it’s the one carrying his team to new heights. The Thunder finished at 48-34 last year and are on pace to finish much better than that this season. The Rockets, on the other hand, finished 65-17 with the best record in the NBA and are on pace to finish much worse than that this season.
It should be unanimous among everyone who watches NBA basketball that George is one of the best defensive players in the NBA, and that should be taken into consideration for MVP talks. Harden ranks 215th in the league in general defense, with a defensive rating of 111.5. George, on the other hand, is a front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year and ranks second in the league in general defense with a defensive rating of 101.6.
MVPG? Maybe, probably not.
However, the voters for the MVP have probably made up their minds on Harden taking the trophy this year. But if PG and the Thunder finish in the third seed or higher above Houston, then George should walk away from this season with his first MVP trophy.
Or the NBA could make things interesting and have PG and James “He Didn’t Touch Me But Where The F*** Is The Foul, Ref?” Harden play rock-paper-scissors for the trophy.
Side note: I really want to forever call PG, “MVPG” after this season and that’s reason enough for him to win.
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