Russell Westbrook and James Harden have had historic seasons this year, each making their case for league MVP. However with the inability to split the award, James Harden should be the league MVP.
Harden has had an incredible season and if it weren’t for Westbrook averaging a triple-double, then Harden would no doubt be the MVP. However, this is not the case. Harden may be robbed of an another league MVP award.
This year, Harden averaged 29 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds a game. He went from being called selfish to leading the NBA in assists. He also ranked second in triple-doubles with a total of 22. In most years, 22 triple doubles would lead the league. On top of those amazing stats, Harden also led the Houston Rockets to 55 wins and a number three seed in the highly competitive Western Conference.
Traditionally, the MVP has been awarded to the player on the better team. An example of that is when Harden lost the award in 2015 to Stephen Curry. In that year, Curry had led the Golden State Warriors to a 67-game winning season. The case made for Curry winning the award was him being on better team.
This year should be no different from past years. The MVP should be awarded to the player on the better team. The traditional ways of voting should not be changed.
Others will argue that Westbrook’s historic season of being the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double cemented him in winning the MVP. There is no doubt that Westbrook is an incredible player. But if his team were better, then with no question, he would be deserving of the award.
Westbrook attempts more shots per game and plays more minutes. Westbrook’s individual stats are not that much better than Harden’s. Westbrook averaged 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists per game. Westbrook averaged one more point and two more rebounds per game. If Harden played more minutes, then without a doubt, his numbers would be up and we would look at him as the unanimous MVP.
Both respected athletes are deserving of the MVP award but Harden had the better season and it should not go unrewarded.