By Justin Batiste
Could this be the year James Harden wins MVP?
If Houston Rockets point guard-shooting guard, James Harden, keeps playing the way he’s playing, this may be the year The Beard finally wins MVP. For the past three seasons, some have said Harden has been the deserving MVP winner. Although Harden put up MVP-type numbers for the past three years, the winners of the previous two MVP’s which were Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (both had historic seasons). 2014-2015 is the only season that you can argue Harden’s case for MVP. Harden stats were slightly better than Curry’s that year. However, the Warriors had more wins than Houston, and wins play a part in MVP voting.
During the 2015-2016 season, Curry’s MVP season, Curry joined the 50/40/90 club (50% from the field, 45% from three, 90% from the free throw line), and the Warriors won 73 games. So of course, Curry was going to win MVP that year. As a matter of fact, he was the first ever unanimous MVP winner that year.
Last season Westbrook won MVP primarily because he did something that hasn’t been done in years. Westbrook averaged a triple-double, and broke the record for most triple-doubles in a season with 42. The last person to do this was the great Oscar Robinson in the 60’s. Also, Westbrook led his team to the playoffs after the departure of superstar Kevin Durant–that team was pretty bad.
This season no one has been doing anything historic to the degree of what Westbrook and Curry did, and Harden has been looking like the best player in the NBA. Even with another ball dominant player in Chris Paul, Harden has still managed to be dominant while leading the Rockets to wins. Not only is Harden putting up the numbers, he’s doing it while remaining efficient.
Right now, Harden is averaging 31.7 PPG on 45% from the field and 40% from three, 5.1 RPG, and 9.8 APG.
He’s first in the league in scoring and assists, and the Rockets are No.1 in the West. The only thing I see changing throughout the season is Harden’s assist average slightly decreasing, and the Rockets not remaining at No.1 in the West.
But Harden’s PPG average will probably stay the same, and his shooting percentages will either stay the same or increase now that Paul is back.
My original pick for MVP to start the season was San Antonio Spurs forward, Kawhi Leonard, but he’s hurt. Kyrie Irving also seems to be in the competition. I could see why Irving would win MVP. He’s putting up good numbers, the Boston Celtics are winning, and he’s the only superstar on his team.
Harden has Chris Paul even though he’s been playing great basketball as of late. His job will only get easier now that Paul is on the team.
I think this year Harden takes home the MVP trophy. Strictly because his numbers will be better than everyone else’s.