NBA MVP Power Rankings Week 2: Luka magic takes the stage

The NBA season is off to a wild start. So is the MVP race.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 5

. 3. 3. . Guard. Preseason Rank: N/R. Stephen Curry. 41. Stephen Curry. player

The Golden State Warriors are 4-1 and, to the surprise of none, Stephen Curry still has the juice. Draymond Green spoke candidly to reporters about the difference between last season's locker room atmosphere and the energy around the team in 2023-24. Blame Jordan Poole, blame Draymond, blame the lunar cycles — however you slice it, the Warriors feel happier this season.

Curry remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and he's still operating at the peak of his powers. He impacts the game so thoroughly on offense that it defies easy description. His presence warps defenses beyond repair. Even when he's floating on the weak side, five defenders are trying their damnedest to keep tabs on the two-time MVP.

If Golden State is due for a renaissance, it would be completely unsurprising for Curry to emerge as a legitimate candidate for the long run. So far, he has averaged 31.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on .543/.459/.931 splits across five games. He's on track to average the fewest minutes per game of his career (31.8) and Chris Paul has definitely moved Curry more definitively off-ball in certain circumstances, but that only empowers Steph. His constant movement is what kickstarts the Warriors' buzzsaw. Curry traversing screens and slicing to the basket with CP3 at the controls might be the more formidable offensive weapon in the NBA.

Of course, when projecting ahead, one has to consider the potential case against Curry. He's less of a "point guard" than ever before, and a drop in assists could be held against him. He doesn't have the defensive equity of Embiid or Tatum, even if Curry's defensive shortcomings are vastly overstated in general. If Paul elevates Golden State back to its prior well-rounded glory on offense, Curry's argument for "most valuable" could take a hit given the balanced and talent-laden nature of Steve Kerr's ecosystem.

That would mostly be silly, however, as Curry's value has long transcended the box score. It's the influence of his presence on others, as well as his individual production, that makes Curry so special. He understands how to leverage his unmatched shooting stroke to benefit teammates, and right now, the Warriors' offense is firing on all cylinders, with Curry at the center of the fun. He's very much back in the awards hunt.