The others in consideration for the MVP award are Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard. Although both are having great seasons, I feel Harden and James are still far ahead. Doncic and the Mavericks will most likely finish with no higher than the sixth seed, which isn’t usually a good enough position for a team to have an MVP winner.
One exception to that, though, is when Russell Westbrook won the MVP award by leading a sixth-place Oklahoma City Thunder to the playoffs, but he averaged a triple-double for that entire season.
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Yes, Doncic is averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game in his second season, which are certainly MVP numbers, but given the competition this year, the Mavericks would probably have to finish as the second or third seed for Doncic to take home the award, which simply isn’t going to happen.
Kawhi Leonard is averaging 27.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and a career high 5.2 assists per game for the LA Clippers but has missed 13 games due to “load management”.
That, paired with the fact that the Clippers are under-performing, are the only reasons The Claw shouldn’t be that strongly considered this year.
Going back to James Harden, many feel he was robbed each time he finished runner up: in 2015 to Stephen Curry, in 2017 to current teammate Russell Westbrook and just last year to Antetokounmpo. Harden could easily be a four-time MVP, but as of right now only has one.
The Beard’s quest for his second MVP will continue past this year. Although he should be a top-three finalist in 2020, Harden will eventually finish short again this year. Don’t be surprised if Giannis wins the MVP unanimously.