LeBron James was in the MVP conversation — as he should be every season — and came in third in the voting, but when asked about it he had no problem with Curry getting his back-t0-back awards. Via Joe Varden at the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
“I think he definitely deserved it,” James said. “You look at Steph’s numbers, he averaged 30 (points per game, led the NBA), he led the league in steals (169), he was 90-50-40 (shooting percentages from the foul line, the field, and 3-point), and they (the Warriors) won 73 (games). So, I don’t, do you have any debate over that, really, when it comes to that award?”
No, there isn’t debate.
If you want to find one — as NBC Sports Radio’s Scott Seidenberg did with me in a discussion last night — it’s how you define the word “valuable.” Professional sports leagues love that vague term because it allows voters to go in a lot of directions and that means discussion and debate. LeBron agrees.
“I think sometimes the word ‘valuable’ or best player of the year, you can have different results,” he said. “When you talk about most ‘valuable’ then you can have a different conversation.”
If you define valuable as “this team would take the worst hit if they lost their star” then maybe LeBron ranks a little higher than Curry, although Curry did have a bigger +/- number this season. I would argue under that definition of valuable Chris Paul should win the award. It’s a tough call.
But even under that definition, Curry is a good choice. And this was his award going away this season.