Stephen Curry ‘surprised’ Mark Jackson picked James Harden to win MVP

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Mark Jackson went with James Harden over Stephen Curry as his choice for MVP, which is (a) hypothetical, because he doesn’t get an actual vote, and (b) only newsworthy because of the fact that Jackson coached Curry and the Warriors last season.

Andrew Bogut was one of the few Warriors players who didn’t get along with Jackson, and he never misses a chance to jab him publicly, so this was a nice opportunity for that.

Curry himself took the high road, though he did admit that Jackson’s remarks caught him by surprise.

From Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com:

“If you twisted my arm today, I would probably vote for James Harden,” Jackson said. “The reason why is because he single-handedly has put that Houston Rockets team in the position that they’re in today.”

The comments come as a stark contrast to the way Jackson had previously championed his former charge as a superstar in the league, while he was coach of the Warriors. …

“It’s his opinion obviously,” Curry said. “He’s probably been watching the league. People are going to ask what he thinks, especially his ties to the Warriors organization and myself specifically. Surprised me he said that. But, it is what it is.”

I don’t think the comments are all that surprising.

In Jackson’s previous role, it was his job to publicly praise his players, and ride with his guys over anyone else. Now in an analyst role, Jackson theoretically has a more critical eye when watching the league at large, and the reasons for Harden winning it are honestly more compelling than Curry’s case as simply the best player on the league’s best team.

Curry may very well win the MVP, and I wouldn’t have any problem with that; he’s put together a ridiculous season, and he’s been the most entertaining player in the league to watch. But Harden’s case is extremely strong, and Jackson saying so shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise.