Steph Curry has already won two MVP trophies, but, like all competitors, the Golden State Warriors superstar would love more. And since he’s still one of the best players on the planet, and playing for the defending champions, he’s certainly still in the discussion.
Curry started the season playing at a torrential pace, before a groin injury slowed him down. Now he’s starting to find his all-world footing again, as evidenced by his 42-point explosion against the Sacramento Kings over the weekend. His name needs to be mentioned anytime the MVP race is discussed.
And while Curry would love to join the exclusive list of players with three MVP trophies (an eight-person group that is currently limited to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson), he understands that a lot of factors go into the voting. There’s stats, there’s narrative, there’s intangibles, there’s fair and unfair expectations, and that’s just the start.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic recently spoke to Curry about the MVP race, and the three-time champion touched on how his injury may have hurt his chances.
“It’s that balance between — it’s all narrative stuff,” Curry said. “(Availability) should definitely be factored. But I don’t know what the cut-off is to say you had a ‘complete’ season. Is it 72, 65, 60? Like, if those 60 games were head and shoulders above the rest, a significant injury shouldn’t discredit that. . . It’s crazy that whatever the narrative is, whatever the criteria for that season, you’re battling through not just productivity on the court, but the spottiness of games and minutes. But I don’t know what the cut off is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Curry has already missed 11 games this season, meaning he’ll have to stay healthy for the rest of the year to have a realistic shot at the trophy. Basketball Reference’s MVP Tracker, which gives MVP odds based on a model that uses prior voting results, currently gives Curry a 3.8% chance of winning the award, ninth-best in the league. But Curry was at or near the top of the tracker’s list prior to his injury, meaning the amount of games lost has hurt his candidacy. If Curry can play at least 40 of the team’s 42 remaining games, he’ll surely shoot up the list.
The MVP Tracker also lists Kevin Durant as having decent odds, as his 6.3% chance at the trophy is sixth-best. Top three on the list are Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Anthony Davis.