On NBA Tuesday this week, we examine the recent season where the Golden State Warriors set the all-time, single-season wins record (73)—but lost in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Strangely, by our next entry in the series, the 2021 championship may be decided already. Time flies on The Daily McPlay!
What about the awards for 2016, you ask? Here they are … and pretty straightforward, at that.
2016 NBA MVP: Stephen Curry (original, confirmed)
With the Warriors setting an all-time record for wins in a season and their star shooting guard, Stephen Curry, topping the league in both Win Shares (17.87) and Player Efficiency Rating (31.46), it’s seemingly easy to confirm Curry’s MVP vote win right here, right now.
The two next-best players both played for the Oklahoma City Thunder—small forward Kevin Durant (14.48 WS, 28.17 PER) and point guard Russell Westbrook (14.05 WS, 27.58 PER)— so Curry had more individual value to his team than that duo did, as the second fiddle on the Warriors was power forward Draymond Green (11.11 WS, 19.30 PER).
Curry’s traditionals: 30.1 points per game (at the time, a career high and his first scoring title), 6.7 assists per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, and league bests in steals per game (2.1) and free-throw percentage (.908). He also shot a career-tops 50.4 from the floor as Golden State lost just 9 times all season.
2016 NBA ROTY: Karl-Anthony Towns (original, confirmed)
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (8.3 WS) was the top rookie, followed by Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić (6.7 WS). Minnesota won just 29 times, Denver only 33—but the Timberwolves posted a 13-game improvement, while the Nuggets improved only 3 wins. This makes it easy to confirm Special K’s ROTY vote victory. With 18.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 1.7 bpg, he was a dominant force on a mediocre team.
This is the first time since 2007 that we have confirmed both NBA awards, by the way.