Do not be deceived, James Harden is the MVP

Stephen Curry. The Baby Faced Assassin. Child of former NBA sharpshooting legend Dell Curry. Family man extraordinaire. Plays a brand of basketball that is the stuff of a network marketers dream. Plies his trade on the most exciting team in basketball. Stephen Curry, the everyman, the hope for all minute sized players who say to themselves “I can’t out jump anybody, but with enough work maybe I can shoot like that.” It is all setting itself up all so nicely for Curry to win Most Valuable Player and the league could not be happier. Now all this is not to say that the son of Dell is not worthy of the award, you would be hard pressed to find one more deserving.

The MVP is decided by media members, and as such is subject to bias, changes in perception, and the ability to devolve into a glorified popularity contest. This is not the “best player in the league” award, if that was the case Kobe Bryant would have more than 1 resting on his mantel in Orange County (this is besides the fact that in 2005 Steve Nash robbed him, I am not bitter I promise I mean it’s not like he averaged 35 5 5, numbers bettered only by Michael Jordan in ’86 and ’87, but I digress). Often what has occurred is that the award has been given to the best player on the best team, that takes a lot of guesswork out of the deciding process, which if you are still wondering, is why Derrick Rose won the award over LeBron James in 2010. Such a simple way to process this award is why anyone who votes for Stephen Curry is not technically wrong in their sensibilities. The Golden State Warriors won 67 games this year. The Golden State Warriors won their victories by an average of 10 points a game. The Golden State Warriors best player is one, Stephen Curry, one half of the splash bothers, recent breaker of his own record for most three pointers in a season, and all of this while leading the league in player efficiency rating at 28.06. Case closed, lets all go home to our families and catch the next episode of Game of Thrones because this is a done deal right? Well if you into such crazy ideas such as nuance, bear with me as I wax poetic for whom I believe is the most deserving player for this vaunted award.

The Maurice Podoloff Award, when defined by many hoop prognosticators, is given to the player who is most valuable to his team’s success. Theoretically, one way to determine this would be imagine how a team would perform if you removed their best player from the roster. Ergo, if James Harden and say Stephen Curry were both removed from their respective teams whose team would fare better, and more telling which team would fall off furthest. Now ask yourself, who is the starting five for the Houston Rockets and I will spot you Patrick Beverly and James Harden to make it easier for you, take your time I’ll wait. Before you mention Dwight Howard, be reminded that he only played 41 games this season, while Patrick Beverly came in at a robust 56, and at this point in the playoffs Jason Terry has now become the starting point. With such an awe-inspiring lineup that includes the likes of Donatas Motiejunas and Trevor Ariza, it’s rather amazing that this rag-tag bunch was able to secure the second seed in the murderer’s row that is the NBA Western Conference. Enter James Harden, he who has MADE more free throws than anyone else in the league has even attempted. He who on the season averaged 27 6 7, numbers repeated by only LeBron James (3 times) and Michael Jordan (2 times) (during this period James won the MVP all three years and Jordan won it once). Another way would be to run a hypothetical situation where you were switch players to different teams and somehow determine the change in wins. The thinking man sees how much Harden does for the Rockets, which has just enough assorted parts to keep games close and then lets James go into bearded wonder mode and win the game for them. This should not work and it has all season. Now put Curry on that Rockets squad instead of Harden, and they are the Oklahoma City Thunder, a plucky exciting team that struggles to hold on to the 8th seed despite jaw dropping stats every night from their superstar point guard. On the flip side, Harden on the Warriors and they are still very much a top tier team winning 60+ games.

James Harden is not loveable. James Harden does not play a brand of basketball that is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. James Harden is not the dream of network marketers. James Harden plies his trade on a team full of players who were extras on the island of misfit toys. James Harden is your 2014-2015 NBA Most Valuable Player.

Jotham spends the brunt of his time shaking his fist at the television during episodes of Real Housewives of Atlanta. However, if you find him interesting feel free to follow him on Instagram or Twitter @jothamkabuye