The end of the NBA regular season was full of interest and intrigue with the hotly contested MVP race. The two frontrunners were Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) and James Harden (Houston Rockets) with Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Lebron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) as honorable mention. On Monday morning the MVP award was announced and like every award in the sports world, it came with an endless debate about if the right man won.
Steph Curry won the NBA MVP award; and handily at that, receiving 100 of the 130 first place votes (4 times the number received by James Harden). Curry helped lead the Warriors to a league best 67 wins and the number one seed throughout the playoffs. Curry’s stats for the season were the following; 23.8 ppg (point per game), 7 assists and 4 rebounds. He shot 44.3 % from three and a blistering 91% from the free throw line.
James Harden (who came in 2nd with 25 first place votes) was visibly upset during an interview Monday leading up to the Rockets first game of the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers. His response to an ESPN reporter regarding losing out on the MVP to Curry; “That’s tough, but we’re in the second round of the playoffs and I got better things to worry about and that’s the Clippers.” (ESPN.com) Harden’s statistics for the season were; 27.4 ppg, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. He shot 37% from three and 86% from the charity stripe.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the right man won the MVP award. Not only was/is Curry the best player on the best team, but he’s been the catalyst driving them all season long. Now, those who believe Harden should be MVP will make that same case for him; stating that he (Harden) carried his team to a number 2 seed in the extremely competitive Western Conference while Dwight Howard was sidelined with an injury. I can’t argue that point; however Harden’s team finished 11 games behind Curry’s when the regular season concluded.
Unlike Curry who plays two-way basketball (meaning offense & defense), Harden is strictly an offensive minded player. He’s one of the worst defenders in the league and has been criticized in the past by NBA analysts for his lack of effort on the defensive end. It’s much easier to average 27.4 ppg when you’re only exerting yourself on one-half of the court. Curry on the other hand, has been praised for his defensive effort and his 2.0 spg (steals per game) are a testament to that.
Curry has become the most exciting player to watch and could (sooner than later) become the best player in the game. He’s by far the best pure shooter I’ve ever seen and has a chance to go down as the greatest jump shooter of all-time. This was his first of (what I believe to be) many MVP seasons and I look forward to watching his career progress.