You’d be a fool not to recognize that James Harden is going to win MVP this season.
Harden has been spectacular in his first year alongside Chris Paul. I even argued that he should have won the award last year over Russell Westbrook. But MVP in the NBA isn’t solely decided on your stat line throughout the regular season. A noticeable trend with each MVP has been that player’s storyline. Who has the most hype surrounding them throughout the year? Harden managed to lead the Rockets to the number one seed out West, which many people thought would be impossible because the Warriors are still a thing. So to argue against him in that category would be crazy, which is why I ultimately think he’ll wind up taking this award home.
I don’t want to take anything away from Harden, because he really has been great. I just feel like he doesn’t have an excuse to be bad, you know? When you have guys like Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and Eric Gordon on your team, you should be able to dominate. Those guys allow Harden to do what he’s able to do just by being on the court. If you throw a double at him, he can kick it out to one of them. Guarding the Rockets is an absolute nightmare because of guys besides Harden. He’s definitley been amazing, but I just feel like his MVP caliber season is a product of the incredible environment down in Houston right now.
Now with that said, the man who would get my vote if I had a say is Anthony Davis. He has truly been the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER to his team. Here’s how: when DeMarcus Cousins went down earlier in the year, many people (including myself) wrote the Pelicans off. Hell, people started writing them off before the season even began. But since January 26th, the date of Boogie’s injury, Davis has been averaging a MONSTER stat line; 30.2 PPG, 12 RPG, and 3.1 BPG, all while shooting 51.4% from the field, 85.5% from the free throw line, and 33.8% from three, and netting a plus/minus of +2.3. Oh, and he’s also managed to keep the Pelicans afloat in what has become a very tight race for the two final playoff spots in the West.
What he’s been able to accomplish given the talent surrounding him this season has been impressive. And I would be confident in saying that if the roles were reversed, and AD was the one who went down, New Orleans would probably be a lottery team at this point. Davis is going to be an MVP someday, but I think it’s Harden’s award to lose this year.
-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)