James Harden is the favorite to win MVP. Harden, who is currently in his sixth season with the Houston Rockets since being traded to them in 2012, has averaged over 25 points per game every year. He has blossomed into one of the league’s best players. He has even started being one of the best at getting his teammates involved.
Despite putting up numbers and being a top-five player in the league, Harden is missing the two trophies that all players strive for. These would be an NBA Championship trophy and an MVP trophy. Harden has a real chance to grab both by the end of this season.
James Harden is the Favorite to Win MVP
Harden has finished second in MVP voting twice in the last three seasons.
Just last year, the NBA saw one of the best MVP competitions ever. Harden averaged 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. His team finished 55-27 which was good for third in the West. Unfortunately, he ran into Russell Westbrook who became just the second player ever to average a triple-double for the entire season. Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s record for total triple-doubles in a season, and he took home the MVP.
Just two years earlier, Harden put together the best season but was beaten out by Stephen Curry during a historic year for the Golden State Warriors. Harden averaged 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. The Rockets went into the playoffs that year as the two seed with a record of 56-26. They trailed only the Warriors who won 67 games and were lead by Curry who averaged 23.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists.
Third times the Charm for Harden to Win MVP?
Harden was robbed of the MVP award that year but here in 2018, Harden leads the field by a long shot. Despite LeBron James putting together what might be his best season, Westbrook almost averaging a triple-double again and the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee, Harden is still the favorite. The Bearded One leads the league in scoring, averaging 31.3 points per game. He is also grabbing 5.1 rebounds and dishing out 9.0 assists per game.
The third time might be the charm for Harden, as he looks to finally get over the hump and win a very deserving MVP award.
Can Harden add a ring to that MVP trophy?
The Rockets currently sit first in the West by half a game. They have a record of 44-13 and are riding a 10 game win streak. They have seven players who are averaging 10 points or more this season. Mike D’Antoni has implemented his system that he used to run in Phoenix, and it is working like a charm.
The Rockets made a splash in the offseason when they added Chris Paul. Paul is still an elite point guard in this league and is playing like it despite missing some time. Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza have been solid for Houston as well. They recently added veteran Joe Johnson to add some experience. Put all of these things together and they have built a championship squad.
The only thing standing in their way is possibly the best team of all time. The Warriors are reigning NBA champions and feature two of the best players of all-time in Curry and Kevin Durant. They ran through the playoffs last year only losing one game. The Warriors are an all-around great team but the Rockets are one team that can run with them.
The Rockets are averaging only one point less than Golden State and they lead the NBA in three-pointers made per game. Many think that no team can beat the Warriors in a seven-game series and quite frankly, they’re right. But if one team is prepared to take them down this season, it is the Rockets.
Harden can make 2018 a very special year for himself and the city of Houston. With the pace Harden is playing at, there is no one catching him for league MVP. As for the winning a title, that is a much taller task but Houston has put together a team that is ready to win now. As unlikely as it may be, we have definitely seen bigger upsets in sports. Regardless of who is going to the finals, Harden has a great chance to finally get that MVP award that has been robbed from him multiple times.
James Harden is the favorite to win MVP (Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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