Mark Cuban thinks James Harden should win the MVP but his reasoning was a backhanded compliment to the Houston Rockets shooting guard.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has never been one to bite his tongue and hold back from speaking his mind. That outspoken nature is part of his appeal and what makes him so likeable or so hateable, depending on what side of the fence you sit.
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So it should come as no surprise that the Mavs owner would say something that would come across as controversial, right? Absolutely.
And it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he took a not-so-subtle shot at in-state rival Houston either, right? Absolutely.
Now paying the Rockets a compliment would be a surprise and he did as much, sort of, when he said he thinks James Harden should be the NBA MVP this year based on what he did in leading the Rockets to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and finishing second to Russell Westbrook in scoring.
The Mavericks will meet the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, but in an interview with Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry before the match up was determined, Cuban said Harden should be the MVP because the team he plays for isn’t any good.
“[The biggest difference is] practice time. There’s no more predictable team than the Rockets. You know exactly what they’re gonna do,” he says. “But James Harden is so good. That’s what analytics have begot. Right? Predictability. If you know what the percentages are, in the playoffs, you have time to counter them. Whether you’re good enough to do it is another question. Because they are very talented, and James Harden, I think, is the MVP. Because that’s not a very good team over there.”
That’s the definition of bulletin board material and considering the Mavericks aren’t expected to beat the Rockets in the playoffs, those words could come back to haunt Cuban if Harden leads the Rockets to a series win.
I can just imagine Harden dropping 52 points on the Mavericks in Game 1 and giving a nice long icy stare at Cuban and Cuban standing there with a silly look on his face.
But in Cuban’s defense, that is the defense used most often in support of Harden’s MVP campaign. Dwight Howard missed extensive time and Harden put the team on his back and led them to the second seed in the West, so there is validity to his comments.
Other MVP candidates like Stephen Curry and LeBron James have much better rosters and didn’t have to do as much as Harden and weren’t as ‘valuable’ as Harden, so while Cuban isn’t wrong in his opinion, he’s in the wrong to take a clear jab at the Rockets who “aren’t a very good team” but are better than the team Cuban owns.
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