Back in October, just before the 2015-16 NBA season kicked off, a panel of writers at Last Word On Sports predicted award winners for every category. Many of those predictions will turn out to be spot-on, while some will surely fall flat. But with the regular season now in the books, six members of the LWOS basketball department will give their takes on who deserves to win each award. We’ll go through all six of the main awards, including Coach of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Valuable Player.
For a complete listing of picks for the 2015-16 NBA awards at LWOS, click here.
Let’s take a look at our choices for the NBA Most Valuable Player award.
2015-16 NBA Most Valuable Player Award Picks
Harrison Marcus, senior editor: There’s no doubt with this one, as Stephen Curry will take home his second consecutive MVP award. He’s dominated the game of basketball in a way we’ve never seen before. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Curry’s game is that he’s able to take a high volume of ridiculous, off-balanced shots that would normally suggest a player is both inefficient and inconsistent, yet he is neither; Curry has insane shooting splits of .502/.452/.906, joining the 50-40-90 club for the second consecutive year. Throughout the season Curry has put on a show of his craftiness, finesse, and lights out shooting, all while leading his Golden State Warriors to a record setting 73-9 season. A few Curry stats that stand out above the rest: 402 three pointers, 68.7% on layups, and 54% on shots between 28 feet and half court, all of which lead the NBA – yes, 6’3’’ Stephen Curry leads the league in field goal % on layups. I could write for hours about how special of a player Curry is, but the bottom line is that he has had a truly remarkable and historic season.
Thomas Mooney, staff writer: Stephen Curry easily. The catalyst for one of the greatest regular seasons of all time, scoring six more points per game than last season, and making over 400 threes in a season, which nobody had ever done. Curry has also been a better all around player this season, leading the league in real plus-minus, and he’s the league leader in steals per game. Honorable Mentions: LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard.
Lior Kozai, associate editor: This is a no-brainer to many people, including myself. Stephen Curry deserves to win the MVP award unanimously this season. Curry has been phenomenal for the team with the greatest regular season record ever. Not to compare the two individual players, but if Curry didn’t claim this award, it would be like if Michael Jordan hadn’t won it in the 1995-96 season – an atrocity that would forever be looked back on as foolish. Curry led the league in scoring at over 30 points per game this season, and he did it while easily placing himself in the 50-40-90 club, in terms of shooting percentages – one of the most efficient individual seasons of all time, considering the high volume. He also finished with a 31.2 Player Efficiency Rating, good for the eighth best number ever. Curry made more than five three-pointers per game, and he again broke the record for threes made in a season, this time shattering his own mark from last year and somehow making more than 400. Curry, with his shooting, forces opposing defenses to adjust to him more drastically than any other player does. Oh yeah, and for people who think Curry can “only shoot threes”, he was one of the best inside finishers in the league this season, and even better right at the rim, showing his diverse skillset. Curry took over the league this season, going from an elite player to a transcendent one while becoming by far the most captivating player in the league. The only debatable thing here is who deserves to be the runner-up for MVP.
Chris Voloschuk, staff writer: Stephen Curry. Russell Westbrook’s recent triple-double frenzy has been incredible, but Curry has defined that very word for the entire length of the season. His numbers are spectacular, with averages of 30.1 points and 6.7 assists per game. His shooting splits (.502/.452/.906) are a marvel of skill and consistency for a guy who played in 80 games this season and sat out a lot of fourth quarters due to the Warriors blowing out opponents. He is the catalyst of the NBA’s most lethal offense (114.8 points per game, 114.4 offensive rating, both tops in the NBA). And he has shouldered the burden of being great night to night as the best player on the defending league champion, receiving every opponent’s best effort. The Warriors winning 73 games and setting a new regular season record only adds to what has been a surreal performance for the 28-year-old point guard. He is the MVP of this season and this time period in league history, and his work ethic will have an impact on the next generation of young guards. No one is matching that.
Matthew Cardenas, associate editor: Is there any question who deserves this award? Stephen Curry has a chance to become the first player ever to win the MVP award unanimously. He led the Warriors to their 73rd win of the season, breaking the 96’ Bulls record of most wins in a regular season. Also, he became the first player ever to hit 400 three pointers in a season. He broke his own record of 286 made three pointers last season. Curry also became the first player to have a 50-40-90 season while averaging 30 points per game. The list goes on and on. He had one of the greatest regular seasons we have ever seen. Every night Curry is going find some way to break your heart from three point land. He even bumped his scoring average by six points per game. And yes, Curry can do more than just shoot three’s. While that it his specialty, his ability to finish at the rim is special. He moves very well without the ball and that is key to the Warriors offense. The Warriors are a special team, and Curry is the reason why. He will get the MVP for the second straight year.
Grant Funtila, staff writer: Stephen Curry won MVP last season and now he improved his numbers a lot. Plus, he’s leading the team that actually beat the record of the 96’ Bulls. He made 400 three-pointers in the season – that’s insane! His numbers are spectacular, putting up over 30 PPG while shooting 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line. He’s so consistent night in and night out that this might be the greatest offensive season from anyone in the history of the NBA. He’s the main reason that the Warriors are the best offensive team in the league. Setting the record for most threes in a season while shooting over 45 percent AND leading his team to 73 wins should be more than enough to win his second consecutive MVP. Honorable Mention: LeBron James. If it wasn’t for the amazing season Curry is having, James would unquestionably deserve this one. He averaged 25.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.8 APG in the regular season while leading the best team in the East, with his All-Star point guard out for the first quarter of the season.