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Hall Of Fame Legend Doesn’t Pick James Harden For MVP

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Although times have changed, this three-time regular season MVP and three-time Finals MVP doesn’t seem to approve James Harden as this season’s most valuable player. Instead, Magic Johnson handed his liking to another fellow west coast point guard.

On Tuesday, Johnson took the time to briefly tweet his reasoning for his decision.

Stephen Curry is my pick for the 2015 NBA MVP Award!

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 7, 2015

Curry led his team to the NBA's best record & the thing I'm most impressed with is that he makes his teammates better.

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 7, 2015

Stephen Curry is averaging 23ppg, 7apg & 4rpg. His averages would've been higher but he sat out the entire 4th qtr of 16 games this year.

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 7, 2015

James Harden is a close second and Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, LeBron James & Anthony Davis are tied for 3rd on my MVP list.

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 7, 2015

This year’s MVP race is so tight that I almost can’t argue with his opinion. Stephen Curry has been playing outstanding basketball year round. However, if Johnson elects to route his decision based on the hypothetical factors, we can do the same with Harden.

I wholeheartedly agree with Johnson that Curry’s averages would increase had he played in every fourth quarter this year. He deserves a substantial amount of credit for leading the Golden State Warriors to so-comfortable leads that he and several others do not have to take part in the fourth quarter massacre. He also has earned a vast sum of attention due to the Warriors policing the best record in the NBA. His teammates are having career-years of their own and most of that is commended by Chef Curry.

But, as I stated before, Harden’s success could be speculated to greater anomalies had his team been healthier as well. Let’s take a moment to ponder the variables. As of right now, the Houston Rockets hold the second best record in the Western Conference (9.5 games behind Golden State). Harden has been playing superhero without his sidekick Dwight Howard for the majority of the season. And even more recent, he’s been dominating without a bundle of players (Patrick Beverley, Donatas Motiejunas, Kostas Papanikolaou).

Harden has single-handedly willed his team to victories. He’s registered two 50+ point games, ten 40+ point games and thirty-four 30+ point games thus far. The Rockets have the third best overall record in the entire league because of him.

To further my point, Klay Thompson is arguably the second best shooting guard in the league. There could be valid debates that either Jimmy Butler or Dwyane Wade surpasses Thompson but he’s certainly in the conversation. If Thompson missed more than half of the regular season, would the Warriors possess a better or worse record than the Rockets currently have (53-24)? Or what if the Warriors were forced to scatter through D-League rosters in order to supplement an injury-plagued frontcourt?

Personally, I don’t think they’d be as good as the current Rockets’ but of course, this is all in theory. But, after stripping our unconfirmed surmises I’m picking James Harden as MVP. Healthy or unhealthy, Curry has the better team. I’m usually not the one to punish someone for the benefits they reap, but in such a close contest, that’s one of the main focal points in why I choose Harden over Curry. Their numbers are almost identical but simply put, Harden has to do more with less. The Warriors’ have a top ten bench while the Rockets’ bench are fighting not to become the worst in the league.

The ambiguous term “valuable” is how we individually perceive each candidate’s contribution. I’m defining their value based on what they’ve accomplished, their supporting cast and their leadership. Implementing scenarios that haven’t played out (as Johnson did) are other people’s way of structuring the word “value”. Overall, I don’t mind Johnson’s vote but I’m not a fan of his justification.

Next: Ranking Top 5 Rockets from week of March 30th

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