Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been the frontrunner for league MVP honors for most of the NBA season, and for good reason. The Warriors are on a franchise-record pace with a 63-15 record, despite recent consecutive losses to the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs, and Curry’s lit up opposing defenses for 23.6 points and 7.7 assists per game.
But being the frontrunner does have its drawbacks, as voters will look for any possible chink in their armor, and it appears Curry is slowly losing ground in the MVP race to Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden.
According to odds compiled by OddsChecker.com, Curry is still in the lead to claim the first MVP trophy of his career at 2/5, but that number dipped from 1/3 last week. Harden, who’s racking up career-highs in points, assists and steals for the No. 2 seed Rockets, has improved his chances from 13/8 to 11/10 after a string of torrid performances.
The latest odds also show Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has slipped to 13/2 after being 7/2. Cleveland Cavaliers star and four-time MVP LeBron James stands pat at 22/1, while Pelicans All-Star power forward Anthony Davis remains at 100/1.
In three games this month, Harden’s exploded for 38.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game, with Houston winning all three matchups to overtake the Memphis Grizzlies for second in the Western Conference.
The Warriors have already clinched the conference and home court advantage throughout the postseason, but if Harden keeps up his current pace he could dethrone Curry in the final five games of the regular season.
The Rockets have the more difficult schedule, which presents Harden with an opportunity to build his case. Should Harden continue to light it up in home-and-home matchups against the Spurs, historically one of the best defensive teams in the league, and then silence Davis and the Pelicans playoff hopes with a home game on April 12, there could be very little separating him from the MVP.
Golden State has four games remaining and all are at Oracle Arena, where they own the best home record in the NBA at 35-2, leaving very few opportunities for Curry to impress voters.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, 2/5
James Harden, Houston Rockets 11/10
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, 13/2
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, 22/1
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, 100/1