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J.R. Smith: LeBron James and Russell Westbrook deserved MVP more than Stephen Curry

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16: J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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For the first time in NBA history, all MVP voters put the same player atop their ballots.

But that doesn’t mean everyone thought Stephen Curry deserved the award.

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith, via Michael Singer of USA Today:

“Other than LeBron, I don’t really know who else to vote for,” Smith said on Thursday ahead of Game 4. ”I mean somebody who does everything for a team, whether it’s scoring, getting stops, rebounds, steals, blocked shots. There’s not more of a complete player, so I don’t see how he couldn’t be the most valuable.”
“If I couldn’t vote for somebody on my own team I’d probably vote for a guy like Russ (Westbrook). I mean, he’s energy, effort, consistently, got the total package. You gotta go for a guy like that.”

I can see why J.R. Smith picked LeBron James over Curry. You have to go with the guy who gets you paid.

But Russell Westbrook? As impressive as Westbrook was, that’s a stretch.

Curry had the NBA’s best regular season by far, and that’s what earns MVP. His relatively dismal Finals have no bearing. Curry’s skills beyond outside shooting are ridiculously underrated – and don’t underestimate the importance of his primary skill. Curry’s 3-point shooting is a big reason he’s more productive than LeBron and Westbrook despite them having wider skill sets.

Of course, this isn’t about debating Curry on the merits. Smith – facing Curry in the Finals – knows exactly what he’s doing.