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Is It Time For Kyrie Irving To Win The MVP Award?

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Is It Time For Kyrie Irving To Win The MVP Award?

Kyrie Irving is an interesting case of how a superstar can be underrated, while at the same time still playing at an MVP caliber level. The MVP award usually goes to a player who puts up huge counting stats: Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden come to mind: mind-boggling statistics combined with hype. Kyrie Irving gets less hype than the aforementioned two, but his stats are efficient and fit the criteria to be the stats of an MVP type player.

Kyrie Irving doesn't get as much hype for winning the award with Kevin Durant on his team, but he may quietly put up an MVP caliber season. Oftentimes, players get left out of award selections simply because there are other good players on their team. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant never won a regular-season MVP during the time they played together, despite clearly being two of the best players on the best team in the league. Players shouldn't be penalized for having good teammates: people should care about individual performance and winning, and Kyrie Irving has shown that he is a winner and a performer at the highest stage. Kyrie Irving is a dark horse MVP candidate, and here is why.

Kyrie Irving Gets MVP Numbers

Kyrie Irving is currently averaging 27.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 6.1 APG through the first few games of the season. During the 2019-20 season, he averaged similar numbers to this season, albeit only through 20 games. Perhaps the best way to evaluate his stats is to look at his last full season during 2018-19. Irving put up good numbers: 23.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 6.9 APG.

He scored less, but his assists were a career-high due to all the talent on that Celtics team, and Brad Stevens paying a very team-oriented style. 6 players on that team averaged double digits in points while playing 65 games or more, so Irving spread the wealth more. Obviously, now that Irving is a focal point of the offense on the Brooklyn Nets, he gets to score more often. Expect Irving's stellar season to continue on its trajectory, barring any injury.

If you told someone that a player who was averaging Irving's 2020-21 stats should be in the early conversation for MVP, then no one would argue with you. Kyrie Irving is also known as a consistent performer: he rarely has extremely awful games. Therefore, we can probably expect similar numbers as he's getting right now throughout the season. What Irving does best is score efficiently at the point guard position night in and night out. That type of playstyle is bound to let him get his numbers, and those numbers will show that he's playing like an MVP player.

Kawhi Leonard was 5th in MVP voting during the 2019-20 season, while averaging 27.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 4.9 APG. Paul George was 3rd in MVP voting during the 2018-19 season, while averaging 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 4.1 APG. Both of those players put up similar stats to Kyrie Irving is putting up this season and were in the conversation for the award. As a smaller guard, Irving isn't exactly going to get more rebounds than two players who play the SF position, but he is a better passer than either. While statistics aren't everything, the point is to show that Irving is definitely capable of having MVP caliber seasons.

Kyrie Irving Is A Proven Winner

Kyrie Irving is an NBA champion. He is an elite player who has won at the highest level and scored one of the most iconic shots in NBA history. While we're talking about Irving winning a regular-season MVP, just the fact that he has a championship shows that he is a winner. Perhaps Irving was on losing teams to start his career, but that changed when LeBron James came to town, and they proceeded to compete for multiple championships together.

LeBron James played the biggest role in winning the championship in 2016, but without Kyrie Irving, he doesn't win it at all. Playing with one of the greatest players of all-time inevitably made Irving underrated. People want to praise LeBron's greatness and that desire is valid: after all, he is in consideration for being the GOAT. But sometimes that diminishes the part that his teammates play in the eyes of fans, no matter how much credit LeBron James gives them. Part of the reason Irving wanted a trade to the Celtics back then is that he wanted his own team. That shows a desire to reach for heights and win awards.

While his time with the Celtics was tumultuous, Kyrie Irving still showed the ability to lead a team to the playoffs as their best player. Irving tried to show his Celtics teammates how to win, but the chemistry simply wasn't there, and Irving ended up leaving for the Brooklyn Nets. Irving's only issues throughout the year have been injuries: but if he retired right now, he would still be a Hall Of Fame player. Kyrie Irving's basketball talent is out of this world: a wizard handle and efficient shooting make him a top 3 point guard today. If he can lead the Nets to the playoffs as a high seed this season, he should be in the conversation for the award.

Should Kyrie Irving Win MVP?

The answer to this question is that it's simply too early to tell. The season has barely started, but if Irving stays consistent throughout the season, then he most certainly should be talked about as an MVP candidate. While Irving isn't necessarily a vogue pick to win the award, he is a player of that caliber. One can simply look at his game: his scoring ability from everywhere on the basketball court, his solid passing, and his clutch factor all help him pass the eye test. Irving is a genius on the court, and if he continues to go on a scoring tear, then the sky is the limit.

While playing with Kevin Durant will most certainly take away some MVP votes from Kyrie Irving, Irving could still win it all. James Harden has been in the conversation for winning MVP last year, despite playing with another ball-dominant guard in Russell Westbrook. While Kyrie Irving isn't the clear cut best player on his team like Harden, the fact that Durant may miss some games as he recovers from his Achilles injury should let Irving get more usage during those games. If Irving plays more games than Durant while putting up good statistics, then the media should favor him as an MVP candidate, simply due to availability. Kyrie Irving has the potential to be the MVP for this Brooklyn Nets team, and perhaps the MVP of the entire league.

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