PBT Awards: MVP

13 Comments

Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

5. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

I flip-flopped on this up to the end, but in my mind, people underestimate Curry’s value to the Warriors (+15.7 per 100 possessions when he’s on the court) because he doesn’t do it in a traditional way. His gravity opens the Warriors’ offense for Klay Thompson and everyone else. The Warriors are the best team in the league, and they are not near where they are without Curry.

Brett Pollakoff

1. James Harden, Houston Rockets

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

This is an impossible choice, and there is no argument to be made against Curry winning it. He’s been the best player on what’s been the league’s best team all season long, and he’s been the most entertaining player to watch.

But Harden has been just as incredible. He led the Rockets to the two-seed in the West, despite the team losing two starters for the season due to injury (Patrick Beverley and Donatas Montiejunas), and with Dwight Howard missing 40 games, as well.

Harden leads the league in 40-plus point performances, and with no other real offensive threat on that team, he’s the focus of opposing defenses every single night. Curry will probably win it, and he’s equally deserving. But what Harden did for a Rockets team that desperately needed him to be consistently great is, in my opinion, more worthy of being recognized.

Sean Highkin

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

The real choice here is only between the top two guys. Curry is the best player on the best team and Harden is the one that managed to drag a flawed team to the second seed in the West despite a slew of injuries. They’re basically 1 and 1a and there’s no wrong answer. Insert any number of other ways to hedge this choice.

But I’m going with Curry. He has better teammates than Harden, but just his being on the floor completely changes the way teams approach everything defensively. He’s improved on that end, too. It’s an impossible choice. It really is.

Dan Feldman

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

I hate having to leave Russell Westbrook off the ballot. He has a case for No. 1. But in this deep pool, he’s my No. 6. His lack of minutes – insert “availability is the most important ability” cliché – keeps him (and Davis and LeBron) outside the top three, and his lackluster defense drops him below the other two.

Curry has played with better teammates, but he took the Warriors from a little above average to historically great. That’s not a lesser accomplishment than Harden taking the Rockets from bad to very good. It’s a close call between those, but I think Curry played just a little better this season.