John Wall

PBT Podcast: Talking Wizards in playoffs, MVP race with CSN’s J. Michael

Leave a comment

The Washington Wizards entered the season with the playoffs as the goal — remember John Wall was writing “playoffs” on his shoes at the start of the season. Well, they made it. And now Wednesday night they get Nene back — the Wizards’ defense improves six points per 100 possessions when the Brazilian Center is on the floor — just how dangerous is Washington in the postseason?

In the latest PBT Podcast myself and Eytan Shander of NBC Sports Radio discuss that with J. Michael,’s Wizards insider.

We also discuss with him the entire Eastern Conference playoffs and the MVP race, which really isn’t much of a race anymore.

Before that, Eytan and I talk some LeBron James and the Heat vs. Nets, and we discuss the Lakers’ coaching situation. Such as it is.

As always, you can listen by hitting play below or  you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

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

James Harden, Stephen Curry
1 Comment

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.