DAR Sports: The NBA MVP Seasons Of The 2010s

By @TrueGodImmortal

The NBA Awards are here. You probably don't care too much, and that's fine. However, the MVP award will be decided and that's a huge award to be given out (although giving out this award this late in the year seems counterproductive), and it is looking like James Harden will win the trophy (although I fully believe Anthony Davis deserves it more). Regardless, with the MVP finally being decided tomorrow night (or it may have already been decided by the time you read this), I figured it would be good to look back at the MVP awards handled out so far this decade and see how they hold up and how great those seasons really were. Let's get into it.

*Stephen Curry
(2014-2015, 23.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.7 APG, 2.0 SPG, 49% FG, 44% 3PT, 91% FT, 67 Win Season)

-If you read this and your belief is that James Harden should have won this award, do me a favor and leave this page and self reflect, because you are completely incorrect. There was no player this season with the effort on a winning team quite like Steph. Harden was great this year, but his turnovers, lack of defense, and his spotty efficiency was an issue as always, and Steph was pivotal in leading the Warriors team to 67 win season where they hadn't lost three games in a row the entire year. While Harden had better scoring numbers in more minutes and shot attempts, Steph was able to nearly match Harden almost in rebounds, average more assists, steals, and shot considerably better from the field, along with the best record in the NBA by far. Steph would make history with 286 threes made this season, which would become a NBA record. Considering his success this season, Steph was in a different zone, and it would be this year that he would breakthrough as the newest star in the NBA. It is a bit strange that a MVP season is sort of the biggest breakout season for a player, but this season was exactly that for Steph. His  popularity skyrocketed, the game on the court was changing, the three point revolution was a reality, and the man at the forefront of it was winning awards and championships. While not looking at what occurs in the playoffs, since that is what the MVP voting is based on (the regular season), Steph was magnificent and with this season, it really felt like he had arrived.

*Derrick Rose
(2010-11, 25.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.7 APG, 45% FG, 33% 3PT, 86% FT)

-Many people felt that LeBron deserved this MVP, and they couldn't have been more wrong. Team success is important, and while Rose wasn't the most efficient shooter overall (his numbers were on pace with Harden and Russ the last few seasons), he was everything his team needed him to be plus more. When you take into consideration what the Chicago Bulls accomplished that season and how much Rose did for the team, it is honestly surprising that people argue he didn't deserve to win. There was no other choice honestly that year, as Rose played 81 games in the season, with high volume minutes, and lead the Bulls to a superb 62 win season and the no. 1 seed in the East over the Superteam Miami Heat. While the Heat would eventually defeat the Bulls in the Conference Finals, that takes nothing away from the MVP season that Rose put up. He averaged 25/4/8 and played the role of both leading scorer and facilitator, ending up with 10 plus assists many times during the season, and pushing the pace for a career high in assists this season. The athleticism and natural ability of Rose are nearly unmatched especially for his size. This season was one big highlight reel rolled into one, but most of all, beyond the stats and the highlights, the Bulls were winning at a high level in the regular season. You can say what you want, but Rose deserved this MVP without a doubt.

*Russell Westbrook
(2016-2017, 31.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 10.4 APG,
42 Triple Doubles, Scoring Title, Averaged Triple Double) 

-Do not let anyone from NBA Twitter or any other form of NBA discussion sway you to not be a fan of this season. This was one of the most amazing seasons we've witnessed and the fact was that Westbrook pretty much carried the team on his back, for better or for worse. He was determined to make something happen after losing Kevin Durant, and while his success was modest in terms of winning, it would be the feats that he accomplished that made the season so special. In addition to leading the league in PER (I hate advanced stats but this is relevant), Westbrook would pull off the impossible, averaging a triple double and breaking the triple double record in the same season, something that we really don't know if we will ever see again. While Russ has taken some flack for being a "stat padder", the reality is, no one had pulled this feat off in over 50 seasons, so if it wasn't that impressive, perhaps someone else would have done it? Aside from that, Russ would come up big time in the clutch multiple times when his team needed him, and while he isn't the most efficient shooter in the game, he carried the team on his back with a hunger and focus unlike any other season in his career. Though the playoff journey of the Thunder ended early against the Rockets, to me, with Russ being the engine of the team, there was no other choice for MVP. The man went on to make history and carry his team to a near 50 win season, which was no easy feat. While Russ likely will never win another MVP, this year was special and never let anyone tell you otherwise. His work on the court was fun and amazing to watch, even if his game has a number of flaws that need to be fixed. That aside, Russell Westbrook was amazing this season.

*LeBron James
(2011-2012, 27.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 53% FG, 36% 3PT, 78% FT)

-I sometimes feel like this is the forgotten LeBron MVP season. This was the year that it felt clear that he was the best player in the world, but it was also a shortened season due to a lockout, so in reality, this is a hard season to really judge. Regardless, the Miami Heat would see success, after coming up short the season before in the NBA Finals and Bron was superb from start to finish. With the Heat going 46-20, it wasn't an extremely impressive season for the team overall, but it was a hugely impressive season for LeBron. He was excellent on both ends of the floor and this was one of his best seasons as a two way player. The most important piece of the season for Bron was his consistency, and for the most part, he maintained that the entire shortened season. Leading the Heat to a NBA Title was a huge feat along with winning Finals MVP, but the journey to get there went through the regular season, and Bron was nothing short of magnificent on his road to his third MVP award.

*Kevin Durant
(2013-2014, 32.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.5 APG, 50% FG, 39% 3PT, 87% FT, Scoring Title)

-In some ways, this might be one of the most impressive seasons in NBA history, let alone this decade. With KD, you know you are destined to get a player who can score at will, but this season, KD was essentially everything for the Thunder and then some. With Westbrook going down with an injury, KD was forced to step up and carry the load on his back, and he did so with the greatest of ease. I always found it a bit shocking that some people tend to ignore this season now due to the KD success in Golden State, but this was perhaps the most masterful season in his career, with great efficiency and heavy scoring. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that in addition to his great scoring, he also averaged a career high in assists, and did it without Russ for a large portion of the season. KD was the engine that drove the Thunder this year, and he put up amazing performances this season like his 48 point night against the Wolves, his epic 54 point night against the Warriors (ha!), and a 51 point performance against the Raptors along with other amazing displays. His defense even seemed to be more engaged this year, one of the first seasons he gained attention for being good defensively. Regardless, the truth is, KD had one of the better MVP seasons, and his MVP speech is immortalized in NBA history. Can't hate that.

*LeBron James
(2012-2013, 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 57% FG, 41% 3PT)

-Some would argue this season is the best season of this decade and I'm inclined to agree on one level, but for the most part, I am partial to Steph Curry in the 73-9 season by a small margin. Still, there was no one better during the Miami Big 3 days than LeBron, as he definitely played both ends of the floor at a high level, something that seems nearly impossible to get him to do consistently these days. While his previous year was pretty impressive, it would be this season that stands out as perhaps his best overall year, even though his stats weren't mind blowing. What did make it special from an efficiency standpoint is how close LeBron was to shooting 60% from the field and how he managed to become a 40% three point shooter for the first time in his career. Couple that with the mega success of the Heat during the regular season, which includes a 27 game win streak, as well as winning 66 games. LeBron was at his best and was so close to being named the first ever Unanimous MVP, but regardless, if anyone wants to know what LeBron James in his all around prime really looks like, send them to watch this season from start to finish. It is unbelievable.

*Stephen Curry
(2015-2016, 30.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.1 SPG, 51% FG, 45% 3PT, 91% FT, 402 Three Pointers, Scoring Title, Steals Leader, 73 Win Season)

-In all honesty, this might be the greatest offensive season of all time. I've never seen anything quite like this season, as Steph was in a different zone and everything that he did this season was just purely amazing. I don't think I've seen an entire season where someone grabbed the NBA by the throat and carried it with him. Steph was responsible for the three point revolution, and this season would be the year the game changed 100%. After putting up 286 threes the previous season, Steph did something that we never believed was possible, and he hit over 400 threes in an 82 game season. Over 79 games, he drained 402 threes. That's insane. He shot 50/40/90, which is the desired mark of efficiency for anyone, but only achieved by a select few (to put it plainly, LeBron, Magic, Jordan, etc have never done it before. Steph has technically done it twice). Steph was missing so many fourth quarters because his team was blowing out the opposition by a wide margin and that makes this season even more ridiculous. Add in the 24 game winning streak, the 73 win season, the accolades, being the steals leader, and so many other pieces that there is no way you can deny this season. There are a few seasons that you don't ever forget, with Jordan's first MVP season being one of them, and some of the Kareem seasons, the Bron in Miami 2013 season, Shaq's first title year with the Lakers, and Steph's history making season that ended with him being named the first ever unanimous MVP. I mean, come on man. Take a look at how many games Steph played less than 30 minutes this season due to the opposing team being blown out and that tells you so much. For this decade, there is no better season than Steph's second MVP year, and it isn't even close really.



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