Stephen Curry would vote for Stephen Curry.
LeBron James would vote for LeBron James.
And James Harden would vote for James Harden.
Harden, via Fran Blinebury of NBA.com:
“I feel as though I am the MVP,” Harden said. “I think the MVP is the most valuable player to your team. Obviously you have to be winning and be one of the top teams in this league and we are.
“I’m not taking credit away from anybody else in the league. But I’ve been consistent all year. I’ve just been doing the right things to put my team in situations to win, considering all of the different circumstances we’ve had to deal with.”
“I’m looking at all those things put together,” Harden said. “Like I said, not taking away from Steph or that team. It’s an unbelievable season that they’re having. But we’re having a pretty good season as well with all the injuries and all that we’ve been going through this season.
“Look, I understand that people can go either way with it. But for the most valuable player, I think I would have the edge.”
Sometimes, it seems the players-choice MVP will be a 490-way tie for first place.
But a few players have actually picked someone other than themselves. Anthony Davis, who’s also in the race, took Harden, and so did Dwyane Wade. Kevin Love picked Russell Westbrook, who picked a reporter quizzing him about the award. Andrew Bogut is all-in on Stephen Curry.
Harden, one some level, is right to pick himself. He has had a fantastic season, serving as the primary scorer and playmaker for a Rockets team that has overcome many injuries to place near the top of the Western Conference. Harden has also improved defensively, going from disinterested to passable, to increase his value.
I’d give a slight edge to Curry, but I wouldn’t fault anyone for going with Harden. And though I think Curry will win, at 3-to-1, I’d bet on Harden.
At minimum, Harden proved Steve Kerr wrong. This is a two-man campaign for Harden now.