In what comes as no surprise, James Harden was officially named one of the three finalists for the MVP award yesterday, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George.
The Beard led the league in scoring for the second straight season, this time averaging a career-high 36.1 points per game to go along with 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2 steals per game.
He also led the league in usage, offensive win shares, total win shares, offensive box plus-minus and overall box plus-minus in what was his finest statistical season to date. Unfortunately, it’s likely not going to be enough for the MVP award.
The Greek Freak is pretty much a shoe-in for the award, with Harden likely to finish second for the third time in his career.
Antetokounmpo had a a great year as well, finishing with averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game, and he led the league in PER and in win shares per 48 minutes.
While Harden’s line is more impressive, The Freak led his team to 60 wins, which was the best record in the NBA, and is the likely swaying point for any voters who were on the fence.
George averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, but he’s likely to finish in a clear third place after the Oklahoma City Thunder struggled down the season’s home stretch.
The NBA will announce the MVP winner on June 24.
The other award finalists for 6th Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Most Improved Player can be found here. Hint: There are no other Rockets.