It’s a different kind of crown to be able to call yourself, the NBA MVP. Winning a ring is the ultimate goal, but if that’s not realistic, then MVP an award that you can attain all by yourself. Teammates help but at the end of the day, it’s on you to be the most valuable player in the league.
In 2019, it’s been a tough battle between James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. James Harden is having a spectacular year yet again. The 2018 NBA MVP has been putting on a show all season. He’s averaging 36.4 PPG, 7.5 APG, and 6.5 RPG and has managed to keep his team in the third-place spot in the Western Conference. He’s notched eight games this year with over 50 points, and he’s doing it efficiently, averaging 43.8 percent FG overall, and 36.2 percent behind the three. He may not be a triple-double machine like Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, but he records his in a different way. He set a new NBA record by notting five 50-point triple-doubles. Only four games this year has he had less than 20 points.
But Harden now has a new contender for the crown, besides Westbrook, James and Kevin Durant in the Greek Freak. It has been a career season for Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s averaging a double-double, with 27.4 PPG (at 58 percent shooting), 12.5 RPG and 6.0 APG. Led by Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1974, when they had Hall of Famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
But what decides the NBA’s Most Valuable Player? The numbers game plays the biggest role. Points, rebounds and assists catch everyone’s eye. They have to be valuable to their team. They have to bring something to the game that the world has never seen before. Breaking records helps a lot with that.
LeBron is having an off year being with the Lakers, but he’s still putting up exceptional numbers: 27.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 8.3 APG, with a terrible supporting cast. Kevin Durant is averaging 26.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 5.7 APG and also helping the Warriors maintain the No.1 spot in the Western Conference. But the Warriors were champions before Durant moved to Oakland, and they will be just as strong when he leaves as well. Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, is averaging a triple-double: 23.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG and 10.4 APG, but his team is barely in the playoff picture at the eight seed.
The MVP has to be Harden. His numbers are exceptional. He’s the true star of the Houston Rockets. Even though they have Chris Paul, Harden is the true heart and soul of his team. He breaks a record almost every month. The public eye is in his favor, as the game favors shooters over athleticism. Harden is nigh unguardable as ESPN loves to discuss. His State Farm commercials, love life (he’s dating Ashanti), dancing memes, funny post-game interviews all nudge him toward the award. At the end of the day, the committee is still a group of humans. They are going to pick the person that they like over the other. It’s just human nature.