With the NBA regular season just about over, it’s time to start predicting the end of the season awards. Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN believes that James Harden of the Houston Rockets will win his first MVP Award this season.
Harden has averaged 31 points 8.7 assists, and 5.3 rebounds while shooting close to 49 percent from the floor. Harden has not only dominated off the dribble, but he’s also shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc on 10.3 attempts per game.
While many will toss Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, and LeBron James into the equation, Harden has not only led the Rockets to the best record in the NBA; they’re also top 3 in scoring and top 10 in defense. The Rockets are one of the favorites to win the NBA title this season and a large part of their success is due to Harden.
While fans cannot ignore the contributions by Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and Eric Gordon, Harden is still the heart and soul of the Rockets.
Arnovitz also stated that optics would consider late-season performance like the one Harden had against the hot Portland Trail Blazers on national TV where he scored 42 points, and the Rockets stopped the Blazers’ 13-game winning streak.
As many great performances we’ve seen this season, is there anyone who has measured up to Harden? Damian Lillard comes to mind, but his teams’ early struggles may put a slight dent in his chances. The same goes for LeBron. While many consider this his best season ever, the Cavs as a whole are not as good as previous years. Durant has been awesome, but a recent injury will knock him down the rankings. Westbrook is still going triple-double crazy, but still, Harden is clearly in a class by himself this season.
Per ESPN voting, Harden will win by having 230 first-place votes with James in second with 83, followed by Anthony Davis of the Pelicans with 73. If looking at percentages, then Harden wins by a landslide with 89 percent, followed by James with 7 percent. There’s no one remotely close to Harden and judging by what he’s accomplished this season; no one should be.
Ladies and gentleman, James Harden will be the 2017 NBA MVP.