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Houston Rockets: Chris Paul says that James Harden is the MVP

Photo by Nathaniel Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Nathaniel Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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Chris Paul and Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets have made their case for why James Harden should win MVP.

At this point in the season, it’s pretty clear that James Harden is the favorite to win the MVP Award.

The Beard continues to lead the NBA in scoring at 31.2 points per game, and he’s also third in assists at 9.1 per game. Harden is also leading the NBA in player efficiency rating (30.0), usage percentage (35.7), win shares (9.7) and box plus/minus (10.5).

And if Harden wasn’t already clearly in the lead, his 60-point performance against the Magic on Jan. 30 left everyone else in the dust. Harden not only broke the Rockets franchise record for points in a game, but he also became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point triple-double.

Harden’s defense has improved as well, as he is ninth in the league in steals per game. James is also allowing just 0.59 points per possessions when defending in the post, which is second in the NBA behind Marc Gasol. Opponents are shooting just 33.3 percent when defended by James Harden in the post.

Chris Paul and Mike D’Antoni make their case for why Harden is the MVP

Chris Paul thinks that Harden is this season’s MVP, and he says it isn’t even close, via the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.

“You look at how many different lineups we’ve had. Look at what he does for our team. All everybody does now is look at the numbers. Nothing against stats. … But nobody looks at how the game went. Watch the game, too. I’m here. I get to see what he’s doing night in, night out.

“A dynamic guard like that, a guy who can score and pass, do whatever, I think he showed everybody why he’s going to be the MVP. Not even going to be close.”

For Mike D’Antoni, it’s the wins along with the numbers that solidifies Harden as the MVP, via Jonathan Feigen.

“Without a doubt, he’s been that guy for the last two years. Above all, he wants to win. He’s always going to get numbers, no matter what system, no matter what team. Now, he’s putting up numbers with wins. That’s a tough combination.”

Also, Harden’s fantastic reliability and consistency should be mentioned in his MVP case. Earlier in the season, Harden missed seven games with a hamstring injury, which was a lengthy amount of time for him. Before that, Harden had only missed two games over his last three full seasons.

Additionally, Harden has scored 20 points in all but two games this season. One of those outings was his first game back after his hamstring injury and the other came when Houston blew out Cleveland and they didn’t need his scoring. Harden is the third player along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain to score at least 20 points in the first 35 games of the season.

Next: Ranking the MVP candidates: James Harden is leading the pack

James Harden is putting up the biggest numbers, his team is winning, and he’s very reliable and consistent. That sounds like an MVP winner to me.

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