The Crimson White

James Harden deserves NBA MVP

George Bridges

The NBA’s Most Valuable Player award will likely come down to two players, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden. Tribune News Service

Ben Boynton

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The NBA has already begun its award season, with Sixth Man of the Year and Coach of the Year being handed out. The premier award, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, will likely come down to two players. Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden will likely be the top two finishers. However, it is Harden who should be the MVP.

Both players have had fantastic seasons. Curry helped lead his Golden State Warriors to the best record in the NBA, with a 67-15 season. Curry averaged 23.8 points, 7.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. In addition to being the NBA’s sixth leading scorer and finishing sixth in assists per game, Curry finished fourth in steals per game and set a new regular season record for made three-pointers with 286. He posted a 28.06 player efficiency rating and earned the most votes for the All-Star Game in February.

Harden led his Houston Rockets team to a 56-26 record, good for second in the Western Conference behind the Warriors. Harden finished second in the league in scoring per game with 27.4 points per game and chipped in 7 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. Harden finished tied for fifth in steals per game with 1.9 and led the league in free throws attempted and made, with 10.2 attempts and 8.8 makes per game. Harden posted a 26.76 PER and also made the All-Star Game.

It is clear that both players had fantastic years and are both worthy of winning the MVP. However, it is Harden who should receive the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. He had to carry his Rockets squad that only got 41 games out of the team’s second best player, center Dwight Howard, as well as 56 games from starting point guard Patrick Beverley. Harden shouldered a huge offensive burden as the best player on his team and had to help facilitate the offense as well as score points. He made clear progress on the defensive end, often considered his biggest weakness.

While Curry had a great year, he had a lot more help from his team. Teammate Klay Thompson also scored more than 20 points per game and is arguably the best shooting guard besides Harden, Draymond Green might win Defensive Player of the Year and the Warriors also boast former All-Stars such as David Lee, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala.

Curry’s team success shouldn’t hurt his season, as he truly played some of the best basketball in the NBA. However, on a team that was much less talented than the Warriors, Harden was the more valuable player and as a result should come away with his first MVP.

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