One day it’s James Harden, the other it’s Stephen Curry. LeBron James is still worth talking about, and some days Kawhi Leonard is amazing. But nothing these guys do should change the way you think about the NBA MVP award.
The league doesn’t reveal all of its awards in one quick swoop. First comes the Sixth Man of the Year (Lou Williams of the Raptors), then the Coach of the Year (Mike Budenholzer of the Hawks), followed by the Defensive Player of the Year (Kawhi Leonard) and that’s where we’re at right now. There’s a bit more to follow, including the most prestigious MVP award in all of sports.
When Dirk Nowitzki was awarded the MVP in 2007, the Dallas Mavericks were knocked out in the first round of the postseason. After a huge individual season for the German who also won it because it was refreshing to see him take the Mavs to such heights and also have a foreign player be this dominant for this long without any American basketball training before his pro debut, suddenly everyone was mentioning how he doesn’t deserve the award because he couldn’t get the Mavs past the first round.
The playoffs, sadly or not, don’t have anything to do with this. The NBA Finals have their special award for the best player of the series, which isn’t too far away from giving ‘MVP of the playoffs’ although it’s not exactly that. And despite the impression left by some players during the first few games of the postseason, even if it’s a continuation of their excellent regular season, it has nothing to do with the voting and the award, or the taste left in your mouth once the player you were pulling for doesn’t win.
Stephen Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and even Derrick Rose and Kawhi Leonard have been fantastic in this postseason so far. It doesn’t mean anything about the regular season they’ve had. It all ended the moment this postseason began and as dominant as Leonard has been or how impressive the resurgence from Rose is since he got back from his injury, this is still probably between Harden and Curry, but 40-point games, as impressive as they are, should be viewed in the right context and not be used as “Evidence” for arguments about the regular season MVP.