Now that the NBA All-Star Break has come to a close, teams are preparing for the second half of the season. Here at FlurrySports, it’s no different. We have analyzed and enjoyed the first half to the NBA season, and now it is time to look at the frontrunners to win the awards. The three experts weighing in will be Devin Bergasse, Chris Porter and Derek Blank.
Most Valuable Player
Bergasse: James Harden- Houston Rockets
As of right now, James Harden leads the league in PPG (31.3), Player Efficiency Rating (30.5), Total Win Shares (11.2) and is second in APG (9.0). His team is at the top of the West with a .5 game lead over the Warriors. Houston, with no doubt, will reach 50 wins, which is usually a key factor in winning the MVP. Of course, unless you average a triple-double and your name is Russell Westbrook. If Houston finished with the top seed and Harden continues his play, I’m not sure if there is even another candidate worthy enough for this award. Many may say that Harden got snubbed last year, but I am 100% expecting him to win it this year. This is basically a no-brainer.
Porter: James Harden- Houston Rockets
James Harden is averaging 35.8 minutes per game, his lowest since 2011-12 when he was the sixth man for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite less playing time, Harden is averaging both a career and league-best 31.4 points per game. Even with one of the best passing point guards in the league, Chris Paul, on his team, Harden is still averaging nine assists per game, on top of five rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. This award has been a long time coming for James Harden, who has been in the conversation for MVP for the last few seasons. Recent MVPs Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook have both, statistically, taken a step back now that they each have taken on All-Star teammates, Harden is the frontrunner to win the MVP at the end of the season.
Blank: James Harden- Houston Rockets
The race looked tight at the start of the year, with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing great, LeBron James playing like LeBron James, and even Kyrie Irving leading the newly-faced Celtics to a top seed. But James Harden has been the consistent star this season and deserves this award. He leads the league in scoring, is trailing only Russell Westbrook in assists, and has led the Rockets to the best record in the NBA. Irving and the Celtics have regressed since Christmas. Before the trade deadline, LeBron’s Cavs were a mess. The Bucks and Greek Freak had fallen off the Earth and are now contending to even make the playoffs. Harden and the Rockets’ consistency help his case more than it helps the other candidates. Harden also recorded the first ever 60-point triple-double in NBA history, so if he continues the pace of play he’s had thus far, he’s a lock in for his first MVP award.