Steph Curry is carrying Golden State Warriors on his back as the NBA regular season heads into the home stretch. But are the sharpshooter’s recent record-breaking efforts enough to make a late run for the MVP award in a middling team?
Curry has shortened dramatically in the MVP market after a staggering run of form in April. The 33-year-old was adjudged the NBA’s standout player in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Curry’s historic month
After a five-game spell on the sidelines in March, Curry scored 32-plus points in 11 straight games – breaking Kobe Bryant’s record for most consecutive 30-plus games for a player aged 33 or older.
The run included four 42-plus point games in the space of five outings, draining 10-plus three-pointers in each.
With one game still to play in April, Curry has also smashed the record for most three-pointers in a calendar month with 90. James Harden’s mark of 82, set in November 2019, now lies in his wake.
Steph Curry has made 83 threes in April, the most in a month in NBA history.
Arguably the best shooting month in the history of the league. pic.twitter.com/Gnx7sdK9Q9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 26, 2021
Curry passed Reggie Miller into second place on the NBA’s list for all-time three-pointers made earlier this season. He now has 2,768 three-pointers and is bearing down on the great Ray Allen (2,973). Curry’s three-point percentage (43.4%) is better than any player in the top 50 for career threes made.
The 10th-placed Warriors have improved to 31-31 on the back of Curry’s hot form, all but sealing their play-in tournament berth and closing in on several teams above them on the Western Conference ladder.
GREATEST SHOOTER EVER. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/nYIS5cfDMv
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 26, 2021
Storming into MVP contention
Steph’s unbelievable streak has seen his MVP odds plummet from $101 into $12 over the past fortnight.
MVP chants have been ringing out at Chase Center and in opponents’ arenas.
As pointed out by Jason Oliver, Curry’s 2020-21 stats (31.2 PPG, 42.3 3P%, 5.6 RPG, 5.8 APG) compare nicely to his unprecedented unanimous MVP-winning campaign in 2015-16 (30.1 PPG, 45.1 3P%, 5.4 RPG, 6.7 APG).
No matter the outcome you'll always be the MVP of Warriors Nation, Steph Curry! 👊 pic.twitter.com/KLikV260rk
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) April 21, 2021
Curry is closing in on NBA leader Bradley Beal for the season scoring title, which would be a huge boost to this MVP claims.
Denver’s Nikola Jokic ($1.22) remains the player to beat for the MVP gong. The Western Conference’s Player of the Month for January and March, the Nuggets big man is averaging 26.2 points, 11 rebounds and 8.7 assists.
Philadelphia 76ers spearhead Joel Embiid ($4.33) is on the second line of MVP betting.
— theScore (@theScore) April 23, 2021
Can individual feats overcome team record?
The biggest obstacle to Curry’s bid for a third MVP honour is the Warriors’ current .500 record and their position in the standings.
Jokic’s Nuggets are fourth in the West and Embiid’s Sixers are second in the East, both teams boasting 40-21 records.
The award invariably goes to a player on a dominant team. Russell Westbrook’s 2016-17 win – playing on a Thunder team that finished sixth in the West with a 47-35 record – was an outlier.
But a late, Curry-led Warriors surge into the top six may force the judges to rethink their MVP votes. With only nine games to play, that may seem unlikely – but the sixth-placed Mavericks (34-27) are not yet out of reach (though a 30-point loss to Luka Doncic and co. yesterday did not help).
SC for threeee
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 28, 2021
The Blazers (33-28), Grizzlies (31-29) and Spurs (31-29) also stand in Golden State’s way. Meanwhile, the Warriors remain a $276 longshot for the Championship.
Curry, though, has a habit of pulling off the seemingly impossible.