Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

James Harden has a point!

This appears on NBA Philippines

Harden has a point
by rick olivares

In the wake of pundit debate regarding James Harden’s comments that he should have been league MVP (Over Golden State’s Steph Curry) last season, many forget one crucial bit of criteria in the MVP voting — it is for the regular season and that does not include the post-season.

In 1993, Charles Barkley was named MVP and rightfully so. After coming off the Dream Team Summer in Barcelona, Barkley who was in his first year in Phoenix led them to league’s best record, 62-20.

However, after the finals clash with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan was named finals MVP prompting many to say that in hindsight, His Airness should have been given the trophy. The prevailing thought that time was voters had “Jordan fatigue” and wanted to give it to someone else. As much as I am a Jordan fan, I disagree. Definitely, Chuck deserved it. 

With regards to remarks about Harden’s ballhogging. I don’t think so. Didn’t Jordan shoot way too much?

During that 1992-93 season, MJ 2003 shots from the field (knocking down 992 of them for .495 accuracy clip). 
James Harden during the 2014-15 season? He had a total of 1,470 FG attempts hitting 647 of them for .440%

So who was ballhogging?

If they can recall the Game 3 win by Phoenix at Chicago, Barkley and teammate Dan Majerle looked at the stat sheet during the post-match presscon and noted that Jordan took 43 attempts during the game that went into triple overtime. In contrast, Barkley had only 20 attempts!

The Barkely-Jordan debate of ’93 isn’t the only should-woulda-coulda MVP debate. There have been many through the years.

There was Karl Malone winning in 1999 when Tim Duncan or Alonzo Mourning should have won it. In 2002, Jason Kidd, in leading the New Jersey Nets to a fantastic turnaround lost out to Tim Duncan. In 1990, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Magic Johnson won the award but Charles Barkley was clearly more deserving.

Having said that, the voting comes down not to stats but also the voters prefer. I believe that Steph Curry, who no doubt is a worthy MVP awardee, comes across as the next big thing. A far sexier choice to the stoic and not so media savvy Harden.

What I am saying here is that Harden has a point. 

And the NBA Players Association saw it that way as well and named him the season’s MVP in a vote by his peers.


Comparative stats:
Curry: 23.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Harden: 27.4 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game. 
Curry lead the NBA in triples with 286, free throw percentage (.914), and steals (163).
Harden was second in minutes played (2,981), tops in free throws (715) and points (2,217).

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