Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2014-15 season, the NBA announced Monday.
Curry beat out Houston guard James Harden in a race that turned out to be not that close.
Curry is the second player in Warriors history to be named MVP — and the first in the team’s West Coast Era (since 1962-63) — joining Wilt Chamberlain, who earned the honor as a rookie with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959-60.
Curry, 27, led the Warriors to a franchise-record and NBA-best 67 wins this season (67-15, .817) and helped the Warriors capture their first Pacific Division title since 1975-76. Golden State is just the 10th team in NBA history to win 67 games in a single season.
In 80 games (all starts), the sixth-year player posted averages of 23.8 points (sixth in the NBA), 7.7 assists (sixth), 4.3 rebounds and 2.04 steals (fourth) in 32.7 minutes, the fewest minutes played by an MVP in league history. The 6-foot-3 Curry led the league in 3-point field goals for a third consecutive season, hitting 286 threes to break his own NBA-record for single-season 3-pointers, and ranked third in 3-point percentage (.443) while leading the league in free-throw percentage (.914).
Curry totaled 1,198 points, including 100 of 130 first-place votes, from a panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as the Kia MVP fan vote on NBA.com.
Rounding out the top five in the voting were Houston’s Harden (936 points, 25 first-place votes), Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (552 points, five first-place votes), Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (352 points) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (203 points).
“That’s tough, but we’re in the second round of the playoffs and I got better things to worry about — and that’s the Clippers,” Harden said after Monday’s shootaround prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. “(The Warriors are) a very good team that’s rolling right now and it didn’t work out, but there’s more of the season to continue to play.”
James, a four-time MVP said, “Disappointed? No, I’m not disappointed. I think it’s well deserved for Curry). I mean, you see, first of all, the team success, that’s the first thing that pops out. He’s the catalyst of that whole ship, and I think he’s had an unbelievable season. … And it’s always great that another kid born in Akron, Ohio, can win an MVP too, so, I like that.”
One of the most prolific shooters in NBA history, Curry hit a 3-pointer in all but one of his 80 games in 2014-15, including each of his last 73 contests, giving him at least one three in 148 of his last 149 regular-season games. With season highs of 51 points and 10 3-pointers on Feb. 4 against Dallas, Curry became the only player in league history to register multiple games with at least 50 points and 10 3-pointers (also Feb. 27, 2013 at New York).
Curry had 22 points and seven assists as the Warriors beat Memphis 101-86 in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday.
After the game, Curry was asked about the prospect of winning the MVP trophy.
“I honestly have no idea,” he said. “It’s obviously just in the middle of a playoff series, it’s hard to kind of separate yourself with other things that may or may not happen.
“Obviously I know what the situation is, and just trying to focus on the game. And if I get a call … I’ll definitely be happy, and there will be a lot of people that can be proud of that moment, as well, and we’ll enjoy it. But right now I’m happy we won Game 1. I’ll wake up tomorrow a fresh new day, and we’ll see what happens.?”