Last night we found out who won the 2018 awards for the regular season. The biggest of all those awards was the MVP award. This award goes to the most valuable player, a player who has the most to do with his team’s success during the regular season. The three finalists for this years MVP award were James Harden, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. James Harden won the award for the first time in his career. James Harden was a worthy choice for MVP this year, but how much he won the award by is absurd and shouldn’t have happened.
Here’s how the voting looked:
1. James Harden: (86 first place votes, 965 total points)
2. LeBron James: (15 first place votes, 738 total points)
3. Anthony Davis: (0 first place votes, 445 total points)
When you look at the number of first place votes for each of these players, it’s clear James Harden easily won this award, but that’s just wrong. I’m not saying Harden shouldn’t have won, but I don’t believe he was that much better than LeBron James. I don’t believe he was 71 first place votes more important to his teams success than LeBron James was to his team. I’ll tell you why.
It’s easy to look at James Harden’s numbers and think he’s the clear cut choice for MVP. He averaged 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. Not only did he average those numbers, but he led his team to 65 wins, which was the best record in the NBA.
If we put numbers and team record next to those of LeBron James, Harden looks like the better choice for MVP. LeBron averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game while leading his team to 50 wins, which was only good enough to be the number four seed in the Eastern Conference. Based on that alone, maybe you could justify Harden’s 71 more first place votes, but there’s more to it than that.
This award is meant to go to the most valuable player to their teams success, and I don’t think it was James Harden. Think about this for a minute. If LeBron James wasn’t on the Cavs this past season, would they have made the playoffs? The answer to that is clearly no.
Now think about the Rockets if they didn’t have James Harden. Would they have made the playoffs? I think they would have. They definitely wouldn’t have won 65 games and had the best record, but I do believe they would have been a playoff team. One of my biggest supports for this is how James Harden performed in the playoffs. Harden was a terrible playoff performer. He’s lucky he had Chris Paul by his side. Paul kept the Rockets alive throughout the playoffs, even getting them within one win of the NBA Finals. It wasn’t James Harden keeping the Rockets afloat in the playoffs, it was Chris Paul.
I know the MVP award doesn’t have anything to do with the playoffs, but my point is that Chris Paul could have led a Rockets team consisting of Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and others to the playoffs. James Harden had a lot of help getting 65 wins. LeBron had pretty much no help getting 50 wins.
It’s so sad to see how under appreciated the greatness of LeBron James is these days because we’re so used to it. It’s unfortunate he’ll probably never win another MVP award even though he’s clearly still the best player in the NBA. I thought this was going to be a somewhat close MVP race, but what LeBron did for the Cavs turned out to be a lot more undervalued than I thought.
Congrats to James Harden for winning MVP. Despite everything I’m saying, he deserved to win the award. What he did not deserve was winning the award by 71 first place votes. That’s ridiculous and just flat out disrespectful to LeBron James.