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 ball-hogging. I don’t think so. Didn’t Jordan shoot way too much?
During that 1992-93 season, Jordan had 2003 shots from the field (knocking down 992 of them for .495 accuracy clip).
Harden during the 2014-15 season? He had a total of 1,470 FG attempts, hitting 647 of them for .440 percent.
So who was ball-hogging?
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 press conference 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 could 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 Barkley also made his case.
Having said that, the voting comes down not only to stats, but also to what the voters prefer. I believe that Steph Curry, who no doubt is a worthy MVP awardee, comes across as the next big thing.
But what I am saying here is that Harden also 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.
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 led 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).
Rick Olivares is a contributing columnist for NBA.com Philippines. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not reflect the stance of NBA.com Philippines.