With the Houston Rockets regular season set to start on Oct. 24, it seems the James Harden hate train is already rearing its ugly head, especially in regards to the MVP award for this upcoming season.
James Harden has arguably been snubbed for the NBA MVP award at least three times. The Houston Rockets’ superstar guard is no stranger to hate though, as it seems he can never do anything right in the eyes of the national media. The media is always quick to point out his flaws, even if his stats say otherwise.
A good example of this was Wednesday night’s preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs, in which Harden had 40 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds, yet there was a narrative that the Spurs “locked Harden up”. You have to wonder if the same would be said about media darlings Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo if they had such a performance.
While Harden doesn’t let media negativity get to him, these constant narratives are essentially downplaying the accomplishments of Harden, which has a lot to do with why he hasn’t won more MVPs. This already seems to be happening regarding the MVP predictions for this upcoming season, as CBS Sports listed their 2019-20 MVP predictions and picked Giannis to win the award again. What makes matters worse is the fact that Harden didn’t even crack the top three of CBS’s predictions.
Sports Illustrated also compiled their MVP projections and the majority of their basketball experts also picked Giannis to win the award, with none of their four analysts predicting Harden as their favorite.
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SLAM Online listed Anthony Davis as their favorite for the MVP award for the upcoming season, which is interesting, as Davis has never had more points per game than Harden and was never a top-two finalist despite being the man on the New Orleans Pelicans.
It seems backward to think Davis would now win the award outright, especially considering that he’s paired up with LeBron James now on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hopefully, the analysts who compiled these lists don’t have an actual vote, because it seems they are already showing their anti-Harden bias with their downplaying of Harden before the season even starts.
Unfortunately for Harden, voter fatigue does exist. It’s the reason Michael Jordan only won five MVP awards and is probably why LeBron James has only won four.
It’s a shame that this is likely affecting Harden as well, because, if anything, it should be viewed as a testament to his greatness that he’s been able to be a top-two MVP finalist in each of the last three years. It seems bizarre that this would be ignored for the MVP predictions for the upcoming season.
It seems the media is so desperate to see someone new win the award that they are already conveniently forgetting about Harden in MVP discussions before the season has even started.
For Harden’s sake, hopefully the NBA media will be able to put their bias aside and vote fairly. If not, he could be in line for his fourth MVP snub.