Last year, there were tons and tons of debates on who was going to win the MVP. Fans were arguing the MVP case for Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Steph Curry, and James Harden. We even made the case for the top MVP candidates who could have won the award. Steph Curry was leading the Warriors to the number one seed, Harden was taking the Rockets to the second seed, Davis led the Pelicans to an eighth seed over the Thunder, and LeBron helped carry the Cavs to the top half of the East.
Now, after Curry dominated the first-place votes in the MVP voting, Harden is speaking up about how he felt. Via Fran Blinebury of NBA.com:
“I know I was the MVP,” Harden said. “That’s 100 percent given all the things that happened last season.
“Credit the Golden State Warriors for an unbelievable year. They had an unbelievable team, coaching staff, everything.
“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.
“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”
First things first, Harden and Curry both had great seasons last year, and no one’s trying to say that one was bad and the other wasn’t. However, Harden seemed to do more with less during the regular season. The Rockets suffered multiple injuries to guys like Patrick Beverly and Dwight Howard. They lost some starters and important role players, but Harden kept the team more than just afloat. On the other hand, Steph Curry led a Warriors team who finished with one of the best records in NBA history. Although, they didn’t get hit by the injury bug, and the team as a whole ran like a well-oiled machine.
It’s very difficult to tell exactly which player was more valuable to the team, because they both played huge parts in the success of both teams. I tend to agree with Harden though, because if you took both players off of their teams, the Rockets had a lot less to work with than the Warriors did. Say Harden suffered an injury on top of the other injuries the Rockets dealt with, that would have sent the team down to the eighth seed or even out of the playoffs all together. Now, take Curry off of the Warriors and you still have Livingston who is a serviceable point guard that can help distribute the ball in an offense that had some great ball movement and team work.
Either way, last season is over and now we’re on the cusp of a new regular season. James Harden sounds hungry to prove that he can be the best player in this league, and it will be fun to see the Rockets and Warriors go head-to-head.
H/T: CBS Sports