James Harden on MVP race: “I thought winning was what this is about”

Associated Press

Russell Westbrook put the exclamation point on his MVP case Sunday, racking up his NBA record 42nd triple-double, then hitting the game-winner to end the Nuggets season.

Also Sunday, James Harden had his own triple-double with 31 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds. That improves Houston to 54-26 0n the season, eight more wins than Westbrook’s Thunder.

After the game, the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen asked Harden if team record should factor into the MVP voting.

If it’s the “most important thing” then Harden just made a nice case for Kawhi Leonard, his Spurs have 61 wins.

What makes the MVP debate fun is that there is no strict definition of who should get the award. Is it the most valuable to his team, regardless of record? How much does team success factor in, and with that how do you balance out the quality of players around the candidates? How much do you rely on advanced stats vs. the eyeball test? For most voters it’s a little of all of those, and the blend is more art than science. There is no simple answer.

And this year, if you vote for Harden or Westbrook or Leonard you’re not wrong — a compelling case can be made for any of them. And LeBron James. It’s what makes the debate that much more entertaining.