PBT Awards: Most Valuable Player

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3 Comments

Kurt Helin

1. James Harden, Rockets

2. LeBron James, Cavaliers

3. Anthony Davis, Pelicans

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

5. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

Harden is going to get his well-deserved MVP award, but this was fairly close — LeBron James had a monster season. The separation for me was the consistency of Harden and how he pushed the Rockets all season, where LeBron was not playing at an MVP level, especially defensively, in January. LeBron’s defense used to be a separating factor in his favor, not this year. It was hard to pick the fifth spot out of a few very deserving candidates, but Lillard took on a larger role for the three-seed Trail Blazers this season, and his defense improved.

Dan Feldman

1. James Harden, Rockets

2. LeBron James, Cavaliers

3. Anthony Davis, Pelicans

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

5. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

James Harden, who can create anything and everything for himself and teammates, had the NBA’s best offensive season. The Rockets’ switching scheme also put him in situations where he’d be far less of a defensive liability. LeBron James was great, but he coasted for too long in January. As do-it-all leaders of good, but not great, teams, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo were neck-and-neck for third. Damian Lillard stayed healthy enough to outpace other competition – namely Stephen Curry and Jimmy Butler.

Dane Carbaugh

1. James Harden, Rockets

2. LeBron James, Cavaliers

3. Anthony Davis, Pelicans

4. Kevin Durant, Warriors

5. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

The race between James Harden and LeBron James is close, and difficult to decide even when you contextualize each player. In Houston, you’ve got Harden having an incredible season next to a hall of famer in Chris Paul. Does that deduct from his case, or help him? Meanwhile LeBron is having a statistically significant season at age 33. There’s no bones about whether James has put his team on his back this season: it’s obvious. Did you know LeBron led the league in value over replacement player? Screw trying to do The Rock’s workout, we should all be doing LeBron’s so we can live forever. Picking between these guys is tough, but I’m going with Harden.