Steph Curry is playing some of the best basketball of his NBA career of late, but does he belong in the discussion for league MVP?
Curry's numbers alone certainly should have him among the top candidates, but Fox Sports 1's Nick Wright argues that the Warriors' near-.500 record should preclude Steph from that list.
"It's five names you've gotta list, expand it to eight, and Steph still isn't on it," Wright said Friday morning on "First Things First." "You cannot be a .500 team and be an MVP candidate. That's the rules."
Wright went on to reference Steph's first MVP season in 2014-15, in which Curry averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 assists but was the catalyst for a 67-win team, seven victories better than the next-closest NBA team in the standings.
There is precedent for what Wright is arguing here, as only a handful of NBA MVP winners in league history have been on teams not in the top three of their conference standings.
Curry is dramatically out-producing that first MVP campaign in 2020-21, however, scoring nearly seven more points per game and grabbing a full rebound more per game, and is just a few percentage points back of his 3-point percentage from that year while taking over three more attempts per game.
After a win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, the Warriors improved to 14-12, and stand eighth in the Western Conference standings.
We've heard voters discuss how the NBA MVP selection process does involve a "narrative" element, which might stand to benefit Steph given his popularity around the league at large. He is pacing all guards in All-Star fan voting, with only fellow superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant garnering more votes after the second returns on Thursday.
Curry and the Warriors absolutely will need to finish at fifth in the West at worst for Steph to have a chance at winning MVP. But if the Warriors do climb up the standings as the season wears on, it likely will be in large part due to Curry's continued brilliance.