Two things are upon us: the start of the NBA season and election day. Somehow, someway, politics permeate all other areas of life, and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr compared this year’s MVP race to a presidential one.
Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News transcribed a question where Kerr compared Kevin Durant to Gary Johnson, a member of the Libertarian party who’s running for president. He also added Damian Lillard‘s name to the ballot:
Steve Kerr's forecast for the MVP is Damian Lillard with a presidential twist pic.twitter.com/xrrp2f6R5L
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 23, 2016
Fortunately, no one (on the Warriors) is Trump.
Lillard had a career year last season and averaged 25.1 points, 6.8 assists, four rebounds while shooting 37.5 percent from three. He wasn’t named an All-Star somehow, but landed on the All-NBA second team and finished eighth in the MVP voting.
Regarding players who provide the most value to the team, Lillard is right up there and is the reason Portland wasn’t in the cellar of the Western Conference; without Lillard, the Trail Blazers would be lucky to win 35 games in a year.
I hope it doesn’t happen because he doesn’t deserve it, but it’ll tough for Lillard (actually, any guard in the West) to stand out while playing in the shadow of Golden State and Russell Westbrook‘s bloodlust.
There’s no doubt that Lillard has the chance to build on his career year, but the thing standing between him and MVP contention is consistently bringing it on the defensive end. I know that Stephen Curry is a two-time MVP and a lackluster defender, but the Warriors collectively mask that, and so do the staggering numbers he puts up.
It’s possible that Kerr is acknowledging Lillard like this because he doesn’t want him to torch them in the regular season. Last year in four games against the Dubs, Lillard averaged 36.5 points on 47.5 percent shooting, and that includes 51 percent from three.
His game totals were as follows: 40, 51, 17, 38.
If the trend continues from last year, Lillard will have another tremendous season that doesn’t net him an All-Star selection, and if he were to take home the MVP, he’d be the second player ever to win MVP without being named an All-Star–Karl Malone in 1998-99. (Fun fact: that was the strike-shortened season with no All-Star game.)