SPANISH HARLEM – This has been a tricky subject for me, and I have bounced around with James Harden and Giannis Antetokoumpo the last two months. Just when I think I have it all figured out, one of them does something makes me change my mind. I ‘ll give a case for each and give me my answer at the end of this article. I can only choose one.
What a season James Harden has had so far. He will be in the top 2 in the MVP race for the third year in a row after winning the trophy last season. The year before last, Russell Westbrook won the award, but many people believed that Harden should have won. If he wins again this season, that would be two in a row, which would be a remarkable three-year run for anyone who has played the game of basketball and that includes the greats of years passed. He is the first player to average over 30 points a game since Jordan, to go along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game.While the Houston Rockets started the season slowly with regards to wins, Harden stepped his game up and basically was a one-man wrecking crew from two-thirds of the season on. It’s crazy to think how efficient he was all year, especially as the primary ball handler. He created his own shot better than anyone this season and was unguardable one-on-one. While some in the media and even some fans complain about the amount time that Harden holds on the ball, the Rockets wouldn’t be nearly as good or as effective in their offense without him. He is the engine that makes them go.
It was also an incredible season for Giannis Antetokounmpo, averaging 28 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists for the team with the best record in the NBA this season. Giannis finally came into his own this year with the type of MVP season that many people potentially expected from him. Well, that thought has come and gone, as he was downright dominant in the paint… a la Shaq in his heyday. He was unstoppable when he got into the paint and dunked on anybody who got in his way. The offense in Milwaukee was designed to help spread the floor for him and it paid dividends, as Giannis was free to roam the paint and dish out assists to some great 3-point shooters assembled to play alongside him. He was consistently great in almost every game he played, with no one player able to stop him. If this kid can develop a better jump shot and get his average up on 3-point makes, his potential will exceed what we already know.
So who would I pick?
My MVP vote is for James Harden, though I believe Giannis will win the award. How you like that for a prediction?
Who would you pick if you had a vote?
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