James Harden Deserves the 2020 KIA MVP Award and Heres Why:
I was researching some stats to make my early predictions on who will win each award. My top candidates where Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lebron James. Luka Dončić and James Harden, but all in all, MVP was easy decision, the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, until I had seen what Harden had done this season.
Last season, Harden put up 36.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists along with two steals and almost a block a game on 44% shooting and 36% shooting from deep. He carried Houston to a 53 win season, and placed 4th in an extremely tough Western Conference. This season, along with another superstar Harden was able to maintain very similar stats from his 2019 performance, and only had half as many touches as he did last season. He, and Westbrook lead their team to a sixth seed in the West, which got even tougher now that LeBron has a fantastic second option, the Clippers have a new dynamic duo with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, along with the two front-runners to win the 6MOY. The Mavericks developed Luka Dončić and now he is an absolute superstar. The list for improvements goes on an on as the East begins to get weaker and weaker.
For example, the Phoenix Suns with only 26 wins are the 13th seed in the West, if they switched over to the East they would be contending for a playoff spot only being two games behind the 8th seeded Orlando Magic. Plus, since the Suns would be in the East, we could see an increase in wins by a couple since they would now be playing more Eastern Conference teams. People who believe that Giannis deserves MVP do make a good point that I cant argue against really. Giannis has lead his team to the #1 seed in the East, and the best record in the NBA this season. However, according to ESPN, the Houston Rockets have the 7th hardest ranked schedule, while the Milwaukee Bucks have the 25th hardest ranked schedule based off of SOS (Strength Of Schedule.) The Rockets have a .502 SOS, while the Bucks have a .493 SOS which means that the Rockets will likely end up playing more .500+ teams over the course of the season if the NBA played out an entire 82 game season. The Bucks also play in a division where three of the teams are below .500, and the one team that isn't had their star player injured for majority of the season. The Rockets, play in probably the second hardest division, behind the Northwest division that consists of four playoff contenders.
Statistically, Harden also edges out Giannis. He's about to win his third straight scoring title, and he ranks first in win shares, second in box plus/minus, first in V.O.R.P, and second in offensive box plus/minus. There are so many stats that we could go over, but I just decided to name a few of the most important ones, Harden edges out Giannis in each of these categories as well. Harden is always catching slack for the way he plays the game as well. People always find reasons to overrate him without respecting the way he plays. He revolutionized the stepback three, and used it to perfection this season with countless buzzer-beaters, including a 4-point play in double coverage against the Clippers. For my final topic about this, I am just going to go over their stats this year. Giannis Antetokounmpo: 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks on 54.7% shooting and 30% from three. James Harden: 34.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 blocks on 43.5% shooting and 35.2% from three.
Harden, this season scored more, dished out more assists, had more steals and had the same amount off blocks despite Giannis being seven inches taller than Harden. Also, for a guard Harden rebounds very well. I'll let you guys decide for yourselves. Comment down below if you agree or disagree with what I am saying. Remember that this is strictly my opinion, but feel free to counter-argue against what I've said this article.