Tonight is the second annual NBA Awards. I don’t even want to talk about the idea of the NBA having an award show for MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, etc. That maybe a blog for tomorrow depending on how the award show goes tonight. I want to talk about the MVP race, or what people think is a race (hint: it’s not).
I’m scrolling through Instagram this morning and Stephen A. Smith posted this:
If you look at the first few comments, they are all going nuts about how LeBron deserves it. LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron LeBron. That all I see. I have news for you people……. James Harden is the MVP. Let me repeat: JAMES. HARDEN. IS. THE. MVP.
People don’t understand the definition of MVP in the NBA. First off, the NBA MVP is a regular season award. You win MVP during the regular season, not the playoffs. This is something that would be cleared up if the NBA just announced the awards during the playoffs rather than after the NBA Finals, but again, that’s a blog for a different day.
Now, let’s jump to the regular season since we’ve cleared up that the MVP is a regular season award. James Harden led the Houston Rockets to 65 wins this season. They became the 21st team in NBA history to have 65 wins or better in a single NBA season. This is not something that is done every year. Something that is done every year is 50 wins, which is how many the Cavaliers had, 15 less than the Rockets. Don’t get me wrong, 50-32 is a good record. Good enough to get you the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
What’s even more impressive about James Harden here is that he averaged 30.4 PPG on this 65 win team, to go along with 8.8 APG. Averaging 30 on a team that good is just something you don’t see. It seemed as if there was no adjustment needed for Chris Paul joining the Rockets. Approximately 30 and 9 is accounting for around 48-50 of your teams points (maybe more with the amount of threes the Rockets shoot).
LeBron with his 27.5 PPG and 9.1 PPG accounted for around 46-48 of the Cavs points per game, which is unreal, but not as good as James Harden this season. Remember, the MVP award isn’t about who the better player is in general, or who had better stats in the playoffs, it’s about who was better this regular season, and that was James Harden.
People forget all the drama the Cavs had mid-year, and how they completely overhauled their roster at the trade deadline. Could your MVP of the 2017-2018 NBA season really come from that situation? A team that was really not a good team for a decent amount of the season.
You can be amazing, but if your team isn’t doing well, you’re not the most valuable player. It’s as simple as that. James Harden had possibly the best regular season for an NBA player since Steph Curry in 2015-2016 where he won unanimous MVP for averaging 30.1 PPG and shooting over 45% from 3PT range and 50% from the field. Remember what happened to that Warriors team who had an NBA record 73 wins… They blew a 3-1 lead and lost to LeBron. Was Steph Curry still unanimous MVP? Yes. As he should have been because again, it’s a regular season award.
That is the most important thing about this whole argument. I want everyone to remember that it’s a regular season award, in a season where James Harden averaged 30 PPG on a 65 win Rockets team, and where LeBron led his team to 50 wins. It’s as simple as that. Debate me in the comments if you’d like. Debate me on Twitter if you’d like. There’s no valid argument for LeBron without mentioning the playoffs.
The NBA Awards show is tonight, June 25th, on TNT at 9 p.m E.T.