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Houston Rockets ace James Harden has clear-cut case for MVP of 2017-18 NBA season

With the book closed on the 2017-18 NBA season, we're making our picks for the individual end-of-year awards, with Houston Rockets star James Harden the obvious MVP.

Jay Asser 2018/06/14

With the book closed on the 2017-18 NBA season, we’re making our picks for the individual end-of-year awards. Here’s how we see the MVP race shaking out.

Most Valuable Player

James Harden (Houston Rockets)

After runner-up finishes in MVP voting two of the past three years, it finally appears as if Harden will get his shine in the spotlight after a stellar campaign.

His case is unassailable. Harden was the best player on the best team during the regular season and led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, while also averaging the fourth-most assists at 8.8.

No player utilised isolations more as he cleared out and attacked 10 times per game, scoring 1.22 points per possession. Even when he didn’t get a basket, he was a master at drawing fouls, getting to the free throw line for a league-leading 10.1 attempts per game.

And when help defenders would take a step or two in his direction, Harden would fire passes to Houston’s shooters on the perimeter to make the opposition pay.

He was the engine that made the Rockets’ deadly offence run and his value to the dominance was undeniable.

Harden isn’t the best player in the league, but if you define the MVP as an award given to the player who had the best season, no one else comes all that close to Houston’s dynamo.

WORTHY MENTIONS

LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)

LeBron could win the MVP every season and it would never feel like the wrong decision. But even though he’s the undisputed player in the world, it’s hard to reward James for a season in which his team wildly fluctuated and finished fourth in the Eastern Conference. That said, we should never take his gaudy production for granted – 27.5 points, 9.1 assists, 8.6 rebounds and 62.1 true shooting percentage.

Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)

Davis made a charge for MVP after DeMarcus Cousins‘ suffered a season-ending injury at the end of January, going on a ridiculous run to average 35.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.5 steals in February. He couldn’t keep up the breakneck pace, but Davis still finished with monster numbers as arguably the best two-player in the league this season.

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Anthony Davis Houston Rockets James Harden LeBron James New Orleans Pelicans