When this season began, the Rockets looked like complete trash. They started off 1-5 and had Carmelo Anthony coming off the bench. Houston released Melo after 10 games of declaring him as their locker room cancer. 20 games in, the team was still 9-11 and in no way looking like they had any hope. However, the Rockets have found new life in December led by James Harden making people wonder if he has a shot at winning another MVP award this season. I’m here to tell you that as of right now, he is my MVP.
Since December 1st, the Rockets have played 15 games. In those games, James Harden is averaging 36.4 points and the team has gone 11-4. To boot, the Beard’s running partner Chris Paul has missed their last 5 games and Houston is 5-0 in those games. The reason for this is Harden stepping it into his second gear; aka MVP gear. In the offseason, this team lost tons of depth by missing out on signing Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, and Luc Mbah Moute. Harden can’t take much time off during games and rely on bench help when the bench help no longer exists. Chris Paul being inactive adds even more weight on the shoulders of the Beard. Luckily, this burden is exactly what James Harden is built for. He thrives when nearly 100% of the offense is involving him because of his phenomenal ability to create shots and pass to the open man. It must be noted that in this run since December, he is still averaging a great number of assists per game with just under 8. The individual stats are exactly where they need to be for James Harden.
After a brutal beginning to the season that I previously mentioned, the Rockets currently find themselves as the 4th seed for the playoffs in the heavy Western Conference. Houston has recently defeated the Thunder and the Celtics in two statement victory games. Their next big challenge is the Golden State Warriors in their next game. This game will be a ginormous indicator to this team being successful down the road. It doesn’t get much easier for them as they face Portland, Denver and Milwaukee shortly after going against Golden State. This 4-game stretch is right down James Harden’s alley as he will be doing all it takes to will his team to victory. This team is on the up and up and it looks real bright for James Harden and company.
MVP Award: How?
It seems that the MVP award is always given to a great player on a great team. The Rockets currently look like a great team but have definitely shown us stretches where they have looked disgustingly bad. James Harden has no chance of sniffing that MVP award unless his team finishes as at least the 4th seed like they currently are. Ideally, Houston could surpass Oklahoma City and finish as the 3rd seed to sweeten the deal a little bit. They must at the very least stay consistent from here on out. The only other thing James Harden needs to provide besides consistency is his insane stat line. For the season, he is currently averaging 33.3ppg, 8.4apg and 5.8rpg. The scoring must stay as high as it is considering he is competing currently with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the award. And with Harden having won the award last season, he needs to go above and beyond this season with the individual statistics to surpass the Greek Freak. As of right now, James Harden is my MVP and don’t be shocked if he wins it.
-Brandon BlackFollow @bhblack02