In Sam Amick’s anonymous poll, NBA players from around the league picked James Harden of the Houston Rockets for the MVP Award.
Earlier in the season, there were a lot of players who had a legitimate chance to win MVP, but now the race has narrowed to just two players.
The media seems to favor Antetokounmpo for MVP, but the players feel otherwise. The Athletic’s anonymous NBA player poll gave us a glimpse of the opinions of players from around the league on the MVP race.
According to Sam Amick, of 122 players, 44.3 percent give James Harden the edge to win MVP. Giannis Antetokounmpo is right behind him at 38.9 percent and Paul George is in a distant third place with 12.7 percent of the votes. Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard also received a very small amount of votes, likely from some of their teammates or even from those players themselves.
James Harden is averaging 36.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game this season. Harden is the first player since Michael Jordan in the 1986-87 season to average at least 36 points per game.
Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo will join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in league history to average at least 27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block per game in a season.
Clearly, both players are putting up big numbers, with Harden having an edge in the stats department while Giannis’ Bucks have the league’s best record. Those who value wins over everything might give Giannis the edge, while those who appreciate gaudy stat lines along with one of the best records in the league will likely give the nod to The Beard.
Obviously, we’re a bit biased, but the players are spot on about the MVP race. What Harden has accomplished statistically hasn’t been done in decades and he has broken all sorts of records, both within the franchise and league-wide. Either way, Harden has the respect of his peers, and you can’t put a price tag on that.