Here is my take on the 2017 NBA MVP. There seems to be a consensus that the winner will be amongst 4 players… LeBron, Westbrook, Harden, or Leonard.
There is no mention of Steph Curry even though he is the reigning 2 time MVP and his stats for this year mirror his stats of 2 years ago when he won his first MVP. Additionally, there is no mention of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson or Draymond Green, all of whom are having a great year. The Warriors have the best record in the NBA for a reason. They are ranked #1 in both Defense and Offense. Yet, nobody from the #1 ranked team is even mentioned as an MVP candidate.
The NBA selects its MVP based mostly on individual accomplishments. If that were the only criteria, then Westbrook would win hands down. If making the team better were a large component, then Harden, Leonard and Thomas would be ranked higher than Westbrook.
I use another component based on performance against the best team in the league (the Warriors) when they play them at home giving them home court advantage. By looking at the MVP candidates’ performance at home against the Warriors, their team lost and the candidates’ performance basically sucked. The most important stat in the chart below is the Plus/Minus column. This number reflects how the team performed while that individual was on the court. As an example, on Jan 16, LeBron played 35 minutes and during his playing time, the Warriors outscored the Cavs by 32 points. The poor shooting stats across the board reflects the dominance of the Warrior Defense.
|LeBron James||Jan 16||35||6-18||1-4||-32||126-91 Warriors|
|Russell Westbrook||Mar 20||27||4-16||1-6||-25||111-95 Warriors|
|James Harden||Mar 28||38||5-20||1-9||-9||113-96 Warriors|
|Kawhi Leonard||Mar 29||36||7-20||0-5||-4||110-98 Warriors|
|Isaiah Thomas||Mar 8||35||7-20||4-10||+4||99-86 Celtics|
While Isaiah Thomas’ shooting stats aren’t great, he had a positive Plus/Minus and the Celtics beat the Warriors at Oakland. Additionally, it is clear that Isaiah has made the Celtics much better and as of this writing, they are only 1 game behind the Cavs for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Since no Warrior player is under consideration, I am picking Isaiah Thomas as my NBA MVP for 2017.