Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, but in the minds of fellow NBA players, he’s not the real MVP. That distinction goes to Houston Rockets guard James Harden, who was revealed as the 2015 MVP by the National Basketball Players Association in a BET broadcast on Tuesday night.
James Harden or Steph Curry: Who's the real MVP?
The first annual NBPA Awards were handed out on Sunday in Las Vegas, and the results were revealed last night. While the NBA's official awards are determined by the ballots of league media at the end of the regular season, the NBPA Awards, which include categories like "Hardest to Guard" and "Player You Secretly Wish Was on Your Team," are voted on exclusively by the players, giving them an opportunity to reward their peers after the season.
In the NBA's official awards announcement, Curry was named as 2014-15 MVP in a runaway vote: He won 100 out of 130 possible first place votes, while Harden won 87 of the 130 second-place votes. The NBPA's MVP voting figures weren't disclosed, but it's clear players saw Harden carrying the heavily-injured and maligned Rockets last season as more valuable than Curry pushing the deeply talented Warriors to the league's best record.
There wasn't only a difference of opinion between the media and the players on who the league's MVP was, but who its best defender was, as well. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was named Defensive Player of the Year by league media in April, but during Tuesday's broadcast, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan won "Best Defender."
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts glowingly spoke of the players' enthusiasm and participation in the voting process back in April. Given Kevin Durant's "you guys really don't know shit" comment directed at NBA media in February, it's clear that players have seized the opportunity to formally voice their opinions and recognize teammates and opponents.
Here's a full list of the NBPA Award winners:
Most Valuable Player: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Best Defender: DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
Man of the Year: Ray Allen
Hardest to Guard: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Clutch Performer: Stephen Curry
Coach You Most Want to Play For: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
Game-Changer Honor: Allen Iverson
Oscar Robertson Visionary Award: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Best Homecourt Advantage: Oracle Arena, Golden State Warriors
Player You Secretly Wish Was on Your Team: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
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