Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five

NBA to release schedule next Tuesday (Dec. 6)

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The schedule for this season is not up yet on It will not be for a few more days.

What is up though are pictures of NBA players and stories about current NBA players — things that were not on the site during the lockout. Images of current players were banned, which gave the site an odd feel. It looks like again now, and NBA TV also is not just running classic games anymore. They are building toward a season. Finally.

NBA TV will host an NBA schedule release show next Tuesday (Dec. 6) at 7 p.m. Eastern.

This will be a 66-game schedule that will be tightly condensed, with teams playing a lot of back-to-backs and all teams playing at least one back-to-back-to-back. There will be one break for the All-Star Game in Orlando on Feb. 26.

A lot of details of the schedule will likely leak before then, but next Tuesday will be the big, official unveiling. For example, we already know four of the five Christmas Day games — Boston at New York, Miami at Dallas (so LeBron James gets to watch Dirk Nowitzki get his ring), Chicago at the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State. The fifth game is rumored to involve Oklahoma City as host, but nothing is confirmed yet.

It’s just good to be talking about games and schedules rather than antitrust law. And it’s good to log on to and see current players again. As it should be.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“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.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.