In news that is actually not, Stephen Curry’s 39 minutes of postseason play will serve as no obstacle to his second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player award.
In a pending development, he almost certainly will not be a unanimous choice, and that should not bother you nearly as much as it will.
Nothing is unanimous in matters like this, no matter how sure you may be that unanimity is the only fair result. Conventional wisdom always has an objector, and frankly, that’s probably as it should be. If any Curry non-voter has a sensible rationale and can defend that position, it should be treated with respect, if not necessarily concurrence.
But we don’t do that either. Anyone who doesn’t vote for Curry will receive great vats of pointed, profane and potentially prosecutable abuse because we live in a shouty society now. It’s how we got the presidential campaign we’re getting, and how we get basically everything else. We want shouty, the shoutier the better.
Plus, there are players who should be considered for that one or two or five first-place votes, and since we already know who the very justifiable winner is (and because the votes are already in), maybe we can handicap the race of Those Who Potentially Cheated Curry Out Of His Legacy.
1. KAWHI LEONARD, San Antonio: Generally agreed to be the most well-rounded great player in the league, and only his reluctance to share his thoughts with the general public except under the greatest duress prevents him from being better known among the hoi, let alone the polloi. Remember, San Antonio was the second-best team, and he was the dominant reason, while the Warriors have the most complete and deepest team of all, and a Leonard voter can make that case.
2. RUSSELL WESTBROOK, Oklahoma City: Likely the second-best guard in the game, and is almost as good a game disruptor as Curry. He would likely get a regional vote by someone “who saw him play night in and night out,” and though that isn’t a particularly encompassing standard, someone always has it.
3. LeBRON JAMES, Cleveland: He’s the best player in the Eastern Conference, and lots of people in the east go to bed before their day’s job as “self-styled NBA expert” is done. James has as solid a claim on Executive of the Year, though, given that he essentially runs the Cavaliers franchise.
4. CHRIS PAUL, Los Angeles Clippers: For keeping the team not only together but making it better during Blake Griffin’s trip to TemperTown. Paul is still an exemplary player, and someone in Los Angeles will doubtless see it that way.
5. DRAYMOND GREEN, Golden State: Even he would be embarrassed by this, but never doubt the noise one contrarian voter can make.
6. KOBE BRYANT, Los Angeles Lakers: This is an insane idea, and I readily acknowledge it as such, but there may be a true Kobe acolyte out there in the voting diaspora who decides that the MVP award should be a version of the Irving Thalberg Oscar -- for services rendered throughout a career. This seems unlikely, and even Bryant would be at least a bit embarrassed by it, but as with the others, one should always heed the stubbornness of one person with an idea.
All this said, Curry is the proper choice for anyone with eyes, just as James was the proper choice three years ago when he got 120 first place votes ... to one for Carmelo Anthony, who allegedly “meant more to his team than James did to his.” Or in 2000, when Shaquille O’Neal got all but one vote, which went to Allen Iverson.
Like we said, there’s always one, and most of the time there are several if you can accept that simple truth in our culture and that Curry not being unanimous is not a slight but a force of electoral nature, your head will not throb nearly as much as it would otherwise when the voting is released later this week.