In today’s statistics and analytics landscape, it’s not incredibly difficulty to manifest a new “historic” tidbit about an individual feat, head-to-head matchup, or a first-time occurrence.
Tonight isn’t necessarily much different but still is pretty remarkable to think about when you delve into the facts.
When the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls tip off tonight, it will be the first time two MVP point guards will be competing in the same game in NBA history. This historic moment would have happened back on November 20th, 2015 when the Bulls traveled to Oakland but Derrick Rose sat out due to a sprained left ankle.
This will be the first time Rose gets a dose of the new and improved MVP Steph Curry that captured the award for the 2014-2015 season, averaging 23.8 PPG, 7.7 APG, and 4.3 RPG.
Rose was the youngest to ever win the award back in the 2010-2011 season, averaging 25 PPG, 7.7 APG, and 4.1 RPG. The subsequent three seasons for Rose were marred with devastating injuries, effectively putting a cap on what an MVP-level Rose could have built upon.
Because of this, expectations will surely be tempered for tonight’s matchup since Curry is playing at an extremely high level and Rose is still working to create a 2.0 version of himself – one that he will probably be for the rest of his career. Had this matchup occurred with a no-injury Rose, we might have one for the ages tonight.
In terms of play style, the former MVPs couldn’t be more different on the floor. In one corner, you have sweet-shooting Steph, a silky scorer whose long-distance bombs are complemented by incredible ball-handling and playmaking.
In the other corner, you have dynamic D. Rose, who races down the floor for dazzling finishes and finds open teammates after penetration.
Curry has taken a stranglehold over the league the last 18 months (as Rose battled various injuries) but there’s a solid chance for a “throwback” performance from the 27-year old Rose tonight.
Technically, two MVP “point guards” squared off back in the 2005-2006 season. The names Allen Iverson and Steve Nash might ring a bell.
The difference is, Iverson’s ever-elusive position listing throws a wrench at the soundness of that statistic. Over the course of 14 seasons, Iverson has fluctuated between the point guard and shooting guard positions. The debate of whether Iverson was a point guard or a shooting guard can rage on all day; the fact of the matter is neither Curry nor Rose have ever been listed on a stat sheet as shooting guard. This is the first undeniable MVP point guard matchup.
An additionally interesting fact about this matchup shed light on the disparaging proportion of guards versus forward/centers to win the NBA MVP award. Out of all the winners tracing back to the inception of the award to now (1955-2015), only 8 guards hold those honors:
Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry.
The history of the MVP award is extremely favorable to forwards and centers, enhancing the mystique of a guard being dominant enough to win in the first place.
Regardless of whether tonight will be a marquee matchup of two MVP winners battling in their prime, history will be made.