As the end of the NBA regular season slowly approaches, so does the age-old debate about the Most Valuable Player.
This year the names most associated with the award are Philadelphia 76er’s big man Joel Embiid, Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and many other high-profile players who have been dominating the league this year.
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Isaiah Thomas Thinks Kyrie Irving Deserves MVP
Per Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, Detroit Pistons legend, Isaiah Thomas thinks that there is at least one other person who is not being talked about that needs to be thrown into the mix.
“He can handle the basketball and we haven’t seen anybody with his kind of handle, his kind of juke, or his kind of move. I had a different style of handling it he’s got his own style of handling the basketball,” Thomas said of Kyrie, Sunday on NBA Game Time.
Irving has indeed been playing well this season. Averaging 27.3 points per game to go along with 5.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists, Irving has been able to help lead the Nets, along with Kevin Durant and Harden, to a 41-20 record. The Nets are now 1.5 games ahead of the 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference after beating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
“I mean his moves around the basket, his shot selection has drastically improved, you know when we talk about MVP candidates, the Nets have been fighting for that number one seed all year long with injuries, some of their top players being out,” Thomas continued.
“But every time Kyrie steps on the floor he’s been most consistent and best player along with Harden and Durant. Because they’ve all been in the discussion for MVP at some point and time in the season I just think we haven’t given Kyrie his due. And he had some issues with the media early on but don’t hate, appreciate let’s give Kyrie his due this year.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 26, 2021
Kyrie Irving is an MVP candidate says @IsiahThomas.
“You can’t ignore what Kyrie Irving has done this year.”
“He, Harden, KD & CP3 are in the conversation.”
— 👑 Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson 📍 (@ScoopB) April 26, 2021
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The Best Ability Is Availability
As well as Kyrie has played this season, a big part of being MVP is not just stats but also the impact you have on a team. Irving has only played 43 games this season, citing personal and family reasons virtually every time he misses a series of games.
He was the subject of a controversial incident that occurred earlier this season, where he was seen without a mask at a birthday gathering for his sister Asia. He was fined $50,000 for the incident.
The fact that Irving is one of five All-Stars on this talent-loaded Brooklyn team is also not to be overlooked. Durant was already in the Most Valuable Player award conversation at the beginning of the season, and once James Harden was traded to the Nets, he became the driving force behind the offense. With Kyrie’s absences piling up this season, he has almost become like a third option for the Nets.
Blake Griffin Praises Kyrie
However, when you can perform the way that Kyrie does when he actually plays you are going to get a lot more leeway than everybody else. Despite a myriad of absences from Irving, his teammate Blake Griffin remains thoroughly impressed by his play this season.
“He was unbelievable. Even when he is not hitting shots, he affects the game so much because of the attention he draws. But when he’s like that tonight, you kind of give him the ball and let him do his thing,” Griffin told reporters after Sunday’s win via SNY.
Blake Griffin was impressed by Kyrie Irving’s “unbelievable” game today:
“When he’s like that tonight, you kind of just give him the ball and let him do his thing” pic.twitter.com/8oGUr53fGw
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 25, 2021
Kyrie winning the MVP award this year is not likely, however his team, the Brooklyn Nets look ready to bring the franchise its first NBA title in 2021.
READ NEXT: Kyrie Irving In Awe of Kevin Durant as Nets Blowout Suns [WATCH]