I read today that Harden was not only deserving of the MVP award but also “should have won.” I find this latter statement a bit hard to swallow given the events of the season. Even the former a tough sell. Often MVP is just a way to write controversy with 3 letters. Not this year.
Harden did very well but Curry passed him. Many holding out for Harden seemed to be waiting for a Curry/Warriors return to earth that never happened. Instead Curry just got better. 24/4/8 on 50% shooting , 52% from 3 and 2 steals a game since the all star break. Leading the league’s best defensive team and while they don’t rank #1 what we know is the best offensive team. Only 3 teams have won more games than GSW in over 40 years.
Harden shined leading Houston during Dwight’s absence. Yet two caveats. This period coincided with picking up a very talented Josh Smith. Dwight missed only half the season and was there for over half of the team’s wins.
Just taking a glance at who Houston beat without Dwight adds some context. Of teams who were legit this season I see the Grizzlies, Bulls, Clippers twice (1 doesn’t count, no Blake, does CLE no Kyrie count?). Harden’s best MVP argument of him carrying them in the impossible West boils down to 3 wins? Every other team was basically missing players or wasn’t elite at all. MVP play is about beating the Spurs, Warriors and Thunder. Not the Nuggets, Sixers and Celtics.
Against Curry is the argument that his team is stacked. It sure is. But consider Michael Jordan earned more money, in 1997, than the entire Warriors starting line up, in 2015. The relevancy is this is one of the three teams to actually win more games than Curry did. Not to mention playing with Hall Of Famer Scottie Pippen who was so damn all time stupidly good that losing Jordan only cost the Bulls 2 games over the whole next season. Not to mention Hall Of Famer Dennis Rodman. Draymond Green is a great player and has made huge strides but it’s about context. Can we compare the 97 Bulls fielding arguably the best defenders of all time at their respective positions in 3 of 5 starting slots to a breakout year by Draymond Green when he lost DPOY to one of his contemporaries at the same position?
Then it comes to the Warrior’s depth. It’s real. It’s a fact. David Lee is an all-star pedigree player coming off the bench. So is Iggy. (or he was) But they are averaging 18 and 26 minutes respectively with a great deal of those minutes in garbage time. Curry sat out 14 entire 4th quarters having beaten the opposing team in 3. Name value contributions can’t be weighed too heavily in an MVP debate. What is significant?
It’s significant that Klay Thompson has been led and developed as the ultimate play off Curry shooter.
It’s significant the the only other starter over the age of 24, Andrew Bogut, only played in 67 games and was playing hurt for plenty more.
It’s significant that Curry made everything work with a first year coach implementing a dramatically new system.
Pretty Much The Best MVP Story, and Worst Selection Of All Time
Does Harden deserve MVP over a guy playing pretty damn near perfect basketball winning 67 games as the best player on one of the best regular season teams of all time? MVP is about significance. Maybe in a normal year with normal “Derrick Rose MVP” type competition he would deserve the MVP. Not this year.This isn’t a normal year. Steph Curry isn’t a normal MVP.