If you have been watching the Houston Rockets this season, then you probably have noticed the explosiveness from shooting guard, James Harden. With this type of play, he has moved himself into a different category of players and rightfully so, MVP conversations?
The Rockets were off to a hot start at the beginning of the season, led by their dynamic duo of Harden and Dwight Howard. Lately though, Howard has been sidelined due to a knee injury, which has forced Harden to take his game to another level.
The bearded assassin can’t seemed to be stopped. Leading the league in scoring with 26.4 per game, he is simply putting on an offensive clinic every night. He has also maintained his all-around game by averaging 6.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds respectively.
Another underrated aspect of his game this season is his defense. Harden is amongst the league leaders in steals, averaging 2 per game and is blocking at least 1.1 shot per game. While these averages definitely do not categorize him as a lockdown defender, they do indeed show a significant improvement on the defensive end. In numerous games this season, Harden has actually shown the ability to get down the court on defense and not get lost in defensive schemes. Of course, there are the occasional mishaps of taking plays off, but at least he is taking more pride in his defense.
Other than Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis, no other player in the NBA is playing on Harden’s level, so the prestigious award could definitely fall into his possession as the season comes to a close. The award has usually been given to the best player on one of the best teams, so that would likely expel Davis of his efforts. That makes Curry Harden’s current competition — he’s solidified himself this season as the best point guard and the leader of a team with a record of 19-2. If the season ended today, Curry would likely come out on top, because of the team’s record and renewed play, but Harden’s efforts are not to be ignored. After all, in the end, the Rockets could come out on top over the Golden State Warriors.
Until injury isn’t a factor for the team, Harden will continue to prove his worth by putting up spectacular numbers and finding ways to help his team win games. This past Thursday (Dec. 11), he went off for 44 points against the Sacramento Kings,with 10 of his total points in overtime. And most recently, on Saturday (Dec. 13), he had a triple-double in the Rockets’ win over the Nuggets, which also saw the return of Howard, who added 36 of his own. But, even without Howard, Harden has been able to keep the team in games and relevant as a top 3 team even with injuries.
If that doesn’t have MVP written all over it, then what does? Harden is the quintessential of a most valuable player and if he continues to play like this, he will have the award in his possession. Keep balling bearded one.