The Warriors are coming back from the break from the stars to host the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, starting a stretch of the last 25 games leading up to the playoffs.
These 25 games represent Steph Curry's last chance to convince powers in place that he is the NBA's most valuable player for the third time.
He certainly has a case. But for a variety of reasons, let's just settle this now:
Apart from a prolonged stretch that would seem insane even for Curry, it just does not happen this year.
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This is not Curry's fault. He is undoubtedly making his second best season of all time, behind his campaign unanimously among the best players of 2015-16.
That season, Curry averaged 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game on 50.4% of the shots, 45.4% of the 3 points and 90.8% of the shots francs.
So far this season, Curry has averaged 28.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game on 48.8% of the field shots, 44.4% over the past year. and 92.2% of charities. And that is after shooting unusually mediocre on the last four games of Golden State before the break.
Curry leads all NBA players on average over-minus (plus -9.7 points per game). He ranks first among all players in the offensive rankings (120.1 points for 100 possessions) and the first among all qualified guards in percentage of live fire (66.0%).
Maybe nothing clarifies the value of Curry as much as its importance for his own team. The Warriors (41-16) hold the Western Conference record, but Golden State have only 5-6 points this season in games their matchmaker missed.
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Really, the main reason why Curry will not win a third MVP this year has nothing to do with him. It has everything to do with who is around him and who is not around the other main contenders for the prize.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a demolition crewmate for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, which holds the league's best record at 43-14.
James Harden leads the scorers' standings and has totaled at least 30 points in every game since December 13.
Paul George is behind Harden and just ahead of Curry with an average of 28.7 points per game (second in the NBA), and he is arguably the best player in the NBA this season.
Assuming that each of these three players is the most valuable of their respective teams, that would make Robin their Batman a combination of Khris Middleton, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
Two of these colistiers were stars. The one who was not – Paul – would probably have if he missed 22 games due to an injury.
Yet none of these guys is Kevin Durant, who has been named MVP of the All-Star Game.
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None of Curry's main competitors have support from artists like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins.
This is not Curry 's fault, but to think that it will not matter in the minds of voters, is simply being naive. The Warriors do not have the record of advantage they've had in recent years, so that's one less argument in its favor. Voters also seem to like "spreading love", so to speak.
So, yes, except for something crazy, Curry will certainly have to wait at least a year to add a third MVP trophy to his loaded shelves. Maybe if their composition changes significantly this season – Durant will surely play a role – he'll have a better chance of doing so next year.
Again, if anyone is able to do anything crazy, it's the guy who became the first person to have gotten the agreement from all the MVP voters.