• OTG Staff

Roundtable: Most Valuable Player

The biggest award of the season, the award that signals who is the best player of the season. Most Valuable Player!

We at OTG make our picks!

Jay Christian - @jaychris206

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

Listen, man: James Harden is your MVP for the 2017-2018 NBA season. I’m sure my esteemed colleagues will put together a number of convincing stats and analysis that makes the case for or against Harden. If it’s the former, then I greatly appreciate it. If it’s the latter, then they are entitled to their own opinion, no matter how wrong it may be. I’m not talking stats; these awards are by and large arbitrary and as such I’m talking religion not science. I know there is increasing momentum for the LeBron James to be the MVP for the fifth time in his career. But I for one refuse to deny Harden just because are have decided to stop beating James over the head with Michael Jordan’s ghost long enough to appreciate how truly remarkable he is as a player. The man played a whole 82 this year in his 15th season and did it well. But Harden was the best player on the best team this year. Voters shouldn’t punish Harden in his third consecutive MVP worthy season because they are finally realizing how amazing LeBron is. Best player on the best team. James Harden is your MVP.

Jonathan Ebrahimi - @awrashoo

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

This year’s MVP has to be James Harden. It seems as though the voters have been moving the goal posts on Harden a little over the previous few seasons. In 2015, when Harden had superior stats, the award was given to Steph Curry because his team had won more games. In 2017, the award was given to Russell Westbrook for having superior stats even though Harden’s team had won more games. This year, however, Harden has given the voters no choice but to put his name on the ballot as the Rockets have the best record in the NBA and his stat line (30.4 PTS, 5.4 REB, 8.8 AST) is arguably the best in the in the league.

Dennis Dow - @DennisDowNBA

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

The case for James Harden as MVP this season is quite simple. He is the best offensive player in the league and is a huge reason why the Houston Rockets are the best team in the league. This is usually where people like to argue that he has a better roster than some of the other players that could get votes for MVP and that is where I will say that it is not his fault that he ended up with one of the savviest front offices in the league that surrounds their best player with a quality team. The roster issues in Cleveland are LeBron James’ fault as much as anyone else’s. Another reason to believe that Harden is the MVP is that he allowed Chris Paul to come onto his team and become a key member. There was no jealousy from James Harden and he allowed Paul to make him that much better as a player. You could make the case that this should be Harden’s second MVP season, but unfortunately people love triple doubles. Here’s hoping that the MVP voters do the right thing and choose James Harden.

Evan Dyal - @EvanDyal

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

Most people assume James Harden is a lock, and twist I think he is, but it will be closer than expected. If LeBron had a little more time, maybe he could have pulled off the heist, but I'm going with Harden who has been the best player on the best team this season. Unlike a lot of other MVP contenders, Harden had no bad stretches this season. Historically it was one of the most excellent offensive seasons ever. In the era of ball movement, Harden has become one of the games best isolation players. This season he averaged 30.7 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game on 44 percent shooting, 36% from deep and 86% from the line on an incredible ten attempts per game. His defense is still not great, but it has been better this season and Harden has shown the ability to guard power forwards, which is the key to Houston's team defense. He only missed a little time with an injury and had played in 69 games so far, and by the way, the Rockets are 63-15. Give Harden the award!

Marc Cantave - @charismaAkaMarc

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

James Harden is this years’ most valuable player. Harden is averaging a league leading 30.7 points while leading the Rockets to the best record in the NBA. Best player on the best team usually wins the award, but Harden has been consistently better than anyone in the NBA this season. After coming in second the last few seasons, James Harden will finally win the MVP award this year.

Jac Manuell - @TheJmanJBT

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

James Harden is finally going to win the MVP he’s been craving the past few seasons. That is unless voters fall into the trap of recency bias with LeBron James. James has been outstanding in the past two months but we forget what happened in January too quickly. LeBron James is still the best player in the league but that doesn’t mean he’s had the best season. Harden leads the league in the following categories:-Points per game-Player-efficiency rating-Win shares. He’s also third in assists per game.

However, as per a piece from Sports Illustrated, regular season MVPs don’t matter. For Harden he needs to prove it in the playoffs because we all remember what happened here:

He’s had an outstanding regular season, let’s hope he can bring that form into the postseason.

Ryan Wheeler - @mrwheeler18

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

This season has some fun storylines about potential MVP candidates: LeBron dragging a dreadful Cavs team to the playoffs, Anthony Davis turning into a super-duper star after Boogie went down and Dame Lillard going supernova since the All-Star break. Those narratives are enough to keep the NBA Twitterverse amused. Despite these marvelous players having excellent seasons, there is only one MVP and he has held the pole position from game 1 to game 82.That man’s name is James Harden. Harden is averaging 30 points, 5 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game, the Beard has indeed been fearsome. Harden is leading the league in points per game, 3pts made, free throws made, a PER of 29.8, usage, box score +/- and contributed 15 win/shares.Harden should be the two-time consecutive MVP, but Houston will properly embrace this first one since Hakeem “the Dream” Olajuwon won in 1994.

Michael Sanchez - @imlaotino

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

The contrarian in me wanted to pick LeBron James. I’m of the ilk that LeBron James should probably win it every year. It takes a transcendent season from someone to convince me otherwise. Well, this year was a transcendent season for James Harden. I could delve into all their individual stats and advanced metrics. I could, but I won’t. I’m sure someone else will do that. For me, all you have to do is look at team success. Not only did the Rockets win 15 more games than the Cavs, but they outscored their opponents by 8.5 points per game while the Cavs outscored theirs by 0.9 points per game. That’s a disparity I can’t ignore no matter how much better Harden’s teammates are compared to LeBron’s. Plus, as someone that went to ASU for a couple years too, this is a win I need in my life (Basketball in Arizona has been THAT bad this year.)

Kory Waldron - @KwalHoops

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

James Harden has been runner-up two straight seasons, it happens, it wasn't his time. LeBron James has put on an incredible season for a man in his 15th season. I have been moving towards LBJ the past two months, I mentioned this on the NBA Outlet last week. When James Harden went down with an injury for two weeks, that was Lebron's chance to really make this race close. He wasn't spectacular and the Cavaliers were worse, that to me is the reason I have him runner-up. James Harden has led the Houston Rockets to a franchise record in wins and the number one seed in the Western Conference, a conference that is no joke. James Harden finally gets his piece of hardware, but the playoffs are what matter.

Dominic Roney - @DomRoney

Most Valuable Player, James Harden

Even with the tremendous season players such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or even Damian Lillard have had, this one was decided pretty early on. James Harden should finally be MVP. Yes, Lillard and Davis have propelled their respective teams into much better playoff seeding than last season, and yes LeBron is still the only reason Cleveland is even in the postseason. However, who can deny how Harden has played this year? “The Beard” not only leads the league in scoring with 30.1 points per game, but is also 3rd in assists only behind LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. He has enough of a campaign statistically to win the award, and that's before you take his team’s success into account. Harden led Houston to clinch the 1st seed and home court advantage in the playoffs over the Warriors. This had led to the discussion if Harden and his Rockets can potentially beat the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. I can only imagine how many basketball fans would be unpleasantly shocked at James Harden being snubbed for this award yet another time.

Kyle Zwiazek - @Kyle_Zwiazek

Most Valuable Player, LeBron James

LeBron James should be the MVP for this season. It is easy to say that he should be the guy every year, but politics have kept him out. The fact of the matter is that the guy is the best player in the NBA. He may not average a triple double like Russell Westbrook has done the past two seasons, but LeBron is the Most Valuable Player in the league. Take James off of the Cleveland Cavaliers and they would probably not make the playoffs. If they did, it would be by the skin of their teeth. What is crazy is he is putting up better rebound and assist numbers than he did when he won the MVP in the past. It will not happen because the NBA likes to spread the wealth, but LeBron James deserves the MVP award.

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