James Harden will almost certainly win Most Valuable Player this season.
It doesn’t matter that LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo advocated for themselves. It doesn’t matter that Harden’s style of play grates. It doesn’t matter how he performs in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals tonight.
The Rockets superstar will likely claim the NBA’s premier regular-season award when it’s presented June 25.
Until then, we just know he’s one of three finalists:
James Harden (Rockets)
LeBron James (Cavaliers
Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
Harden scored an NBA-high 30.4 points per game, maintaining his efficiency and distributing, to lead the league’s best offense. Add improved defense in Houston’s switching scheme, and Harden was the main reason the Rockets finished with the NBA’s best record.
LeBron was mostly awesome, but his effort and focus waned in January. Davis did a great job lifting the Pelicans into the playoffs after DeMarcus Cousins got hurt.
The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is a tough exclusion. I bet LeBron, Davis and Antetokounmpo were 2-4 in varying orders on many ballots (which called for five selections).