In the case of the NBA's MVP award, the fix seems clear

In the case of the NBA's MVP award, the fix seems clear

In the past two weeks, we have come to realize that the most prestigious award in the National Basketball Association is in freefall, and by the time the winner is actually announced on June 26, the reaction will not be, “He really had a great year” but “Why him?”
Yes, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and in this past fortnight, we have seen Russell Werstbrook’s candidacy undermined by Oklahoma City’s decision to use only him. We have seen James Harden’s candidacy undermined by one of the great personal power pouts in modern sports history. We have seen Kawhi Leonard’s candidacy both undermined and then potentially enhanced by his ankle injury. We have seen the non-existent candidacies of Isaiah Thomas and John Wall greatly enhanced by their postseasons.
And we have no idea what to make of Kevin Durant or Draymond Green.
Most of this is due to two anomalies in the NBA award system. The first is the time-honored decision to end all voting at the end of the regular season, which makes sense because it rewards six months of consistent work rather than the last-thing-I-saw-matters-the-most crowd.
But the second is to put the award up after the season ends for the benefit of a television show, and as we all know, putting television first is always a winning strategy.
In this case, the choice to announce the winner 2.5 months after the end of the regular season allows the time and the corrosive nature of public commentary turns the winner into an abuse magnet.
And while even this individual award is far less important than the championship thing, the league and its various correspondents want it to matter for purposes of engine churn. Thus, the need for a fix seems clear.
Moreover, the fix seems clear. A regular season MVP and a playoff MVP.
Neither award would matter as much, of course, because the more awards you hand out the lesser each one seems. But the reduction in prestige would work hand-in-glove with a reduction of ridicule.
Knowing the NBA, it would probably do this and then double-down and have a Summer League MVP. Oh, wait; it already has one. But maybe nobody’s thought of a training camp MVP yet. Get on that one, Adam.
And the MVP award still is facing a seismic war over whether it is for best numbers or best vague analysis of contribution. That will not be settled any time soon, to be sure. If Westbrook wins, it will probably be a one-off victory based solely on one’s man’s body of work separate from his team. If Harden wins, it will be for making the seemingly shambolic Houston Rockets a dramatically better team, which is the more historically predictable method. And if Leonard wins, it will probably mean ballot box fraud given that the entire debate has been about Westbrook and Harden to the exclusion of all other candidates.
But however this breaks down, the dissatisfaction will not be able to fit in the overhead bin, and that’s no way to celebrate a season in which the apparently superior team could end up with no awards at all.
So maybe this is just more of the Great Year of National Deconstruction, in which all old standards are blown up just to see stuff rocket into the sky. You know, like our political, culture and ethical systems.
Now if that’s your goal – to devalue the awards as some sort of hyperflagellant all-glory-is-fleeting-and-everything-is-meaningless message – then this is the best method ever. Closing the voting and wait for developments to turn everything into filth has never been tried before, so maybe this is the perfect year for it.
But I’ll bet they try it only the once. This may a traditional notion, but the Most Valuable Player award should be a kind of cool thing rather than an award you pick up with barbecue tongs while wearing a Hazmat suit.

Steph Curry avoids making MVP selection

Steph Curry avoids making MVP selection

Steph Curry is not going to win his third straight MVP award.

Who does he think should take home the hardware?

"Just thinking about the season as a whole and all the spectacular things we saw from Russ to James to Kawhi, to LeBron James to Isaiah, myself, KD before he got hurt, you can’t really make a bad decision on who to vote for," Curry told Marc Spears of The Undefeated. "It’s just a matter of how you define MVP.

"That seems to kind of change from year to year just depending on your preference and what you enjoy watching on the court, what matters most to you in that kind of sense. I said (Harden) probably a month ago on what Houston was projected to do going into the season. But, obviously, I’m not voting on it."

In mid-March, Dan Patrick asked Curry to pick an MVP.

Curry chose to "cop out" until the regular season was over, but then declared, "I'd probably say James (Harden)." 

The NBA is changing things up this year and won't reveal the winner until a June 26 awards show.

"It will be interesting to see how it unfolds," Curry added. "What sucks about it is you have to wait so long now for the guys who are in that conversation."

Two years ago, Curry gave his MVP speech on May 4.

Last year, his speech was on May 10.

Westbrook's historic effort eliminates Denver, locks in Warriors-Blazers

Westbrook's historic effort eliminates Denver, locks in Warriors-Blazers

For the second straight year, the Warriors will meet the Trail Blazers in the postseason.

And it was set up in dramatic fashion.

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, who earlier in Sunday's game in Denver broke Oscar Robertson's single-season triple-double record, hit a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to lift the Thunder past the Nuggets 106-105.

The loss eliminated the Nuggets from playoff contention and allowed Portland to clinch the 8th and final spot in the West.

The Warriors won all four meetings with the Blazers this season:

Nov. 1, 2016 in Portland: Warriors 127, Blazers 104
Dec. 17, 2016 in Oakland: Warriors 135, Blazers 90
Jan. 4, 2017 in Oakland: Warriors 125, Blazers 117
Jan. 29, 2017 in Portland: Warriors 113, Blazers 111

Last year, the Warriors defeated the Blazers in five games in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The NBA playoffs begin next weekend.

Westbrook's game-winner finished off a 50-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist performance, his record-setting 42nd triple-double of the season.