Blogtable Archive

Blogtable: Would a James Harden-Russell Westbrook co-MVP split sit well with you?

Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

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Kobe Bryant says James Harden and Russell Westbrook should be co-MVPs. What say you?

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David Aldridge: No. I get his argument, but I’d hate that outcome. Pick someone, for the best reasons you can, and live with the fallout and blowback that will surely follow.

Steve Aschburner: I say, ask Kobe Bryant how he would have liked being “co-” anything with anybody. As competitive as he is, my hunch is he’d want to win the award outright or not at all. “Co-” seems too much like a participation trophy to me — I still don’t like that Grant Hill and Jason Kidd tied for Rookie of the Year in 1995 and I’d bet that neither of them does either. Besides, since the MVP ballot doesn’t allow one to split votes, Harden and Westbrook actually would have to tie in the points system attached to the voting, an extreme long shot.

Fran Blinebury: Kawhi Leonard.

Scott Howard-Cooper: No. If it turns out that way, fine. But no one should split their vote. Otherwise, someone will get real surgical and dice their ballot into quarters — Harden, Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. That would be justifiable as much as Kobe’s suggestion. Just pick a guy.

Shaun Powell: That’s a wishy-washy vote by Kobe. And while everyone will bring their own formula for deciding MVP — which irritates me, because I believe there should be league-issued guidelines — I’ll say this for Westbrook: I’ve never seen anyone average a triple-double (too young for Oscar). That needs to be rewarded.

John Schuhmann: I disagree. There’s a pretty slim chance that voting results in a tie and there’s just too much information out there for individual voters not to be able to make a distinction between any and all candidates. I made my case for Harden in this space last week.

Sekou Smith: It took roughly 20 years, but finally we see eye to eye on something, Kobe. Seriously, though, if ever there was a season that I wouldn’t be upset with co-winners of an award this is it. People love to talk about how splitting the award is taking the easy way out, but it’s hard to separate the otherworldly performances of both Westbrook and Harden (and we’re not even including Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James in this particular conversation). I could live with co-MVPs, I really could. I don’t think it would diminish the exemplary performance of either man. I think it would serve to accentuate the fact that they both had unbelievable seasons that were equally brilliant in their own right, and were recognized as such. The fact that we were lucky enough to get them in the same season is a bonus.

Ian Thomsen: In most years the argument could be made for co-MVPs. And if it actually played out that way, then the award wouldn’t be worth very much. So make a stand. Choose one player or the other and argue for your choice. In my case it’s Harden, because he has led a team of low expectations to the league’s third-best record.

Lang Whitaker: Mamba doubt? You might be able to select co-MVPs inside the MUSECAGE, but I’m pretty sure the ballot the NBA sends out only allows us to choose one guy as the MVP. In my mind Harden and Westbrook are neck-and-neck, and as great as Harden has been all season, if I have to choose one right now I’m going with Russell Westbrook.

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