It was the biggest topic all season long: The MVP race. Everyone had their corner. Some like Russell Westbrook’s triple doubles and hero ball, others liked James Harden’s incredible efficiency. Others still favored Kawhi Leonard’s two-way play.
All three now have major strikes against their resumes after two rounds of the playoffs.
The argument against Russ hasn’t changed much. The playoffs were indicative of the type of season he had: lots of big numbers and lots of big losses. Should the MVP be someone who gets trounced in the first round?
Harden has looked increasingly tired after suffering his wrist injury, and his production has suffered. While the Rockets were able to coast by Oklahoma City, Harden looked lost against a San Antonio team that was missing Kawhi Leonard in game 6.
The Spurs have technically been better with Leonard off the floor all season, and the Spurs beat the Rockets by 39 without him in the lineup. It’s an anomalous performance to be sure, but it doesn’t help Leonard’s case.
The next choice looks increasingly like *yawn* LeBron James. He may have coasted a bit during the second half of the season, but the point-forward posted his best statistical year since returning to Cleveland. Another option is Steph Curry, but he only looked like the Curry of the past two seasons after Kevin Durant went down with an injury.
Players like Gordon Hayward, Isaiah Thomas, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry might also be able to sneak in a vote or two as well with local beat writers.
We’ll see where the voters’ priorities lie.