Steph Curry Favored to Win NBA MVP in ESPN Straw Poll; LeBron James Receives No Votes

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 10, 2021

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry celebrates during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in San Francisco, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is the overwhelming favorite in the race for the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player Award based on a recent ESPN straw poll of media members.

ESPN's Tim Bontemps reported Friday that Curry received 94 of the 100 first-place votes in the poll, which was conducted Dec. 3-6 and asked voters to rank their top-five MVP candidates.

Here's a look at the top vote-getters:

  1. Curry (978 total points; 94 first-place votes)
  2. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (610; two)
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (471; three)
  4. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (256; one)
  5. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (160; zero)

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, a four-time NBA MVP, didn't receive a single voting point after missing 12 of the team's first 26 games because of injury.

The selection of Curry, a two-time MVP, as the early-season favorite doesn't come as a surprise since he's been the driving force behind the Warriors' push to an NBA-best 21-4 record.

He's averaged 27.5 points, 6.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 threes and 1.8 steals across 24 appearances. He's shooting 43.9 percent from the field, including 41.3 percent from three-point range.

Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Curry's ability to make greatness seem routine reminds him of Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, a teammate of Kerr during his playing days.

"I think Steph, in a lot of ways, is like Michael Jordan," Kerr told reporters Tuesday. "There are so many moments that they just all blend together. They don't even stand out because that's just what you expect. And maybe that's the true sign of greatness."

Curry will soon add another accolade to a resume that would already land him in the Hall of Fame, as he'll pass Ray Allen for the most three-pointers made in NBA history. He stands at 2,964, nine behind Allen (2,973).

"Umm ... I'll talk about it when it happens," Curry said Monday. "You're gonna make me cry up here, bruh. Don't do that. Don't do that."

It'll be a hallmark moment amid a season where the Warriors have re-emerged as a championship contender after winning three titles in a four-year spanning beginning in 2015.

All of the other players atop ESPN's MVP straw poll are having great seasons in their own right, but if Curry and the Dubs continue to play at this level, it's hard to imagine anyone beating out the 33-year-old Davidson product for the NBA's top individual honor.

The Warriors will look to keep their hot start going Saturday night when they open a five-game road trip at the Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia 76ers.