Raptors forward Anderson defends against  Hawks guard Green in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Atlanta

Clippers trade for Willie Green from Hawks


If things go well for the Clippers, Willie Green will rarely see the court. They have Jamal Crawford to play the two guard spot and they hope Chauncey Billups will be healthy and eating up minutes soon.

But, things rarely to plan and the Clippers want to be prepared, so they announced they have traded for Willie Green from the Atlanta Hawks.

Technically the Hawks get the rights to heavy Greek center Sofocles Schortsianitis — you can call him “Sofo” like everyone else — but he is not coming to play in the NBA (he’s been one Summer League and didn’t look NBA ready). This is another part of new GM Danny Ferry reshapping the Hawks roster top to bottom.

Sofo fits into a trade exception the Clippers already have.

Green spent most of his career in Philly but was with Chris Paul in New Orleans a couple years ago. He hit 44 percent of his threes last year for the Hawks and gave them solid minutes when he got in.

Another nice veteran addition to what should be a good Clippers roster. How good, and how far coach Vinny Del Negro can take them, will be the questions once the season starts. They think they can challenge the Thunder and Lakers. We need to be convinced still.

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 NBA.com.

“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.