Is Stephen Curry the Best Back-to-Back NBA MVP Winner Ever?
When Stephen Curry won the 2015-16 Most Valuable Player Award, he became only the 11th player in league history to be named MVP in consecutive seasons.
The list of the previous 10 to accomplish the feat is filled with NBA legends, current Hall of Famers, and future shoo-ins. The crazy thing is that Curry already feels like a deserving member of the pack, even at the young age of 28 and with lots of basketball left to play.
That's because of just how good he's been the last two seasons. This season alone, he led the NBA in several categories and even set some all-time records. There are a lot of those to list, so we'll just direct you to this handy infographic instead of regurgitating it here (seriously, check that out).
Just in case you're too lazy for a click, this sums things up pretty nicely as well:
73 wins - 9 losses
UNANIMOUS #KiaMVP! pic.twitter.com/fOIN3yuQ2k
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) May 10, 2016
And if you're wondering how Steph's back-to-back MVP campaigns stack up against those that came before him, the answer is "very well."
|Player||Years||Cons. MVPs||Avg. PER||WS/48||TS%|
Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird all went back-to-back-to-back as league MVP, so looking at any totals as a point of comparison between the players on this list would be skewed by the extra season for those three guys.
The fact that all the different positions in basketball (point guard to center) are represented on the list, and because it spans many decades, looking at raw numbers like points, rebounds, and assists per game might not make for an adequate comparison either.
For that reason, we're looking at some of the more universally accepted one-number advanced metrics, included each player's average Player Efficiency Rating (PER), rate of Win Shares Per 48 Minutes (WS/48), and True Shooting Percentage (TS%) over their two (or three) MVP seasons.
As you can see in the table above, Stephen Curry can definitely hang with this group.
His average PER of 28.0 over the last two seasons trails only the two back-to-back MVP sets of LeBron James (31.4 from 2008-10, 31.2 from 2011-13) and the one from Michael Jordan (29.7 from 1990-92). Talk about esteemed company.
In terms of Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, it's the same story: only LeBron's 2011-13 (.311), LeBron's 2008-10 (.309), and MJ's 1990-92 (.297) outpace Steph's .288 from 2014-16.
And True Shooting Percentage, which weighs the value of twos, threes, and free throws? Well, it shouldn't be a surprise that this is where sharpshooter Stephen Curry excels. Curry's 63.8% over his two MVP campaigns is better than any of the other consecutive winners.
Now, let's see if Curry can become only the fourth player ever to win three consecutive MVPs and separate himself even further from the (other) legends on this list.