2009 — James Harden over Blake Griffin
Avert your eyes, Oklahoma City fans — yes that is three consecutive Thunder players that should have been the top pick in their draft. But wait a second… isn’t this the draft Steph Curry was in? Yes it is. Let me explain. Curry is awesome, and few if any in NBA history have matched his offensive production at his peak back to back MVP years. But Harden’s production is equally unrivaled, on his seventh consecutive season over 25 points per game and averaging 6 rebounds and 8 assists a game during that stretch.
So why Harden over Curry? Curry’s absolute peak for two or three seasons was a touch higher, but Harden’s peak has been longer. His durability has already been worth almost a full season extra, and he was also excellent early in his career while Curry took awhile to figure it out. It’s starting to look like Harden may age more gracefully, too. I know you think this is crazy. But look at the numbers and think of the entire career, and this is a real argument.