Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry appreciates the MVP endorsement from LeBron James, even if he doesn’t fully trust it.
After the Los Angeles Lakers star declared that Curry is deserving of the league’s top individual honor this season, some Warriors fans shared suspicions that James may have had an ulterior motive with his praise. Curry spoke out about that speculation this week as the teams prepared to meet in the play-in game to determine the No. 7 seed in the NBA playoffs.
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James Had High Praise For Curry
Curry saved one of his best performances of an already excellent season for Sunday, scoring 46 points to notch a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies and secure the Warriors a place in the top half of the play-in bracket. After the season-ending flourish from Curry, James had some high praise and an MVP endorsement.
“Everybody counted him out this year. Everybody saying now that Klay is hurt, can Steph lead a team on his own, can he carry a team into the postseason, can he keep a team afloat, he’s done that and more,” James said, via CBS Sports. “If you’re looking for MVP, if Steph is not on Golden State’s team, what are we looking at? We get caught up in the record sometimes instead of just saying, ‘who had the best season that year?’ And Steph has had, in my opinion, the best season all year.”
But some Warriors fans thought that the praise from James was really a bit of strategy, overselling his opponent ahead of a one-game showdown for the No. 7 seed. When asked about their theories, Curry had a laugh.
“I love no matter if it’s him, it’s me, whoever it is, there’s always another element of analytics or analyzing what we say, how we say it or when we say it,” Curry said, via USA Today. “‘Bron’s no stranger to that. Neither are we.”
Curry Not Likely Winning Any Hardware
Though Curry has the endorsement of James, he likely won’t have a chance at taking home what would be his third league MVP award. CBS Sports published a rundown of experts — and actual MVP voters — who unanimously picked Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic to take home the honor. Among the eight, there was only one who even put Curry as the runner-up, with most marking him behind Sixers big man Joel Embiid and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Other MVP voters seemed to share the same opinion. A Twitter user named SwipaCam has been tracking votes as sportswriters make them public, and found that Jovic was headed toward a unanimous selection as league MVP.
Curry seemed sharply focused on the game against the Lakers, however, even pushing aside the potential that James was buttering him up.
“It’s great for the entertainment value of what we do,” Curry said, via USA Today. “I kind of love the chatter because it’s hilarious and awesome all at the same time. It’ll make for a great show tomorrow.”