NBA News

NBA Awards 2015 Most Valuable Player- James Harden: Dissecting the Dichotomy Of The MVP Award

By Tamberlyn Richardson
6 of 9

Mar 15, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) looks on against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James – Perennial Favorite:

Though some media experts will tell you LeBron James is still the best player in the NBA, some others might argue he’s not even the most valuable player on his own team! Kyrie Irving posted huge games this season and looking back at big wins it was Irving who put them over the top. Case in point the 57 point game in San Antonio on March 12th.

Still, some would argue James is the reason Irving is playing better which is valid, but James also benefits from Irving.

The other key fact I’ve found mind boggling all season is everyone pointed to how much better the Cavaliers were once James returned from his hiatus to heal from his myriad of nagging injuries.

What they don’t highlight is James returned with 3 new players 2 (J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov specifically) of whom played just 2 games prior to James return.

If you followed my weekly power ranking column you’ll know I haven’t been convinced this team can go the distance and their defense still lacks a lot to be desired. Further, while I’ve jokingly referred to James as the GM all season the truth is the trade of Andrew Wiggins may have a lot of Cav’s fans shaking their heads in dismay in the near future.

Now that Kevin Love will miss the rest of the playoffs and may walk in the off season one wonders if GM  James is even questioning himself given the Cav’s sure could use a defensive minded athlete like Wiggins on their squad.

Russell Westbrook – The Stat Monster:

I remember telling the BBoyz a couple seasons ago, if Russell Westbrook didn’t play on the same team as Durant he’d be a perennial MVP candidate. At the time he was leading the charge for OKC in taking down Kobe Bryant’s Lakers in the playoffs and it was his performance that pushed the Thunder over the top. The BBoyz laughed at me, then this season happened and let’s just say they aren’t laughing anymore.

What Westbrook did was establish the fact he will play every single possession as if his life depends on it. In the end, without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka it was just too much for one man to change and the Thunder fell just short of making the post season. The trade deadline deals were very valuable and we can expect to see how much so next season when Durant and Ibaka return.

The key for the Thunder won’t be how offensively brilliant we can expect them to be, but how well they can play on the defensive end of the court. Notably Utah improved dramatically on defensive without Enes Kanter while conversely OKC plummeted from a top 10 defense with his addition to their squad.

It will be interesting to see how much force the dynamic duo start next season with after such a disappointing campaign this year. And, I’ll reiterate if LeBron James can win 2 MVP awards playing beside Wade and Bosh then why can’t Durant or Westbrook be considered annually as well? I wouldn’t bet against either of them next season as they’ll be driven to make a statement.

Next: Who Will Win?