As the NBA season winds down the MVP discussion has grown louder specifically for the Houston Rockets’ James Harden.
The Rockets will end up with the best record in the NBA and clinch home court advantage throughout the playoffs. As of today Harden is averaging 30.7 points per game which leads the NBA, along with 8.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 steals and he shoots 44.8 percent from the field, 36.7 percent from beyond the arc and 86.4 percent from the free throw line.
Much like last year those numbers are impressive and do support Harden winning MVP. Yet, is he the most important player for the Rockets? The answer is no, Chris Paul is. Though he has missed 21 games this year, Houston is 47-7 with him in the lineup and 14-7 without him.
This year Harden’s assists numbers are down 11.2 to 8.8 and rebounds are down from 8.1 to 5.4. Coincidentally since Houston acquired a legitimate point guard in Paul, his turnover numbers are down from 5.7 to 4.3.
It’s hard to argue that Harden’s deserving since LeBron James is having one of his best seasons of his career. He’s averaging the most points in a season since 2009-2010 at 27.4; 9.1 assists are a career-high as well as 8.7 rebounds. He’s also shooting 54.2 percent from the field, 36.6 percent from beyond the arc and 73.2 perecent from the free throw line.
Yet, even if James wasn’t having a career year a win for Harden sets a dangerous precedent for the NBA. It gives the impression that it’s okay to disgrace the game while flopping and flailing for whistles.
That truly is Harden’s only strength being rewarded free throws. It’s hard to blame him cause he’s likely has gotten calls at every level he’s played at including college while at Arizona State. The sad part is the officials buy it nearly every single time. It’s almost comical to see what happens when a call doesn’t go his way or an opponent flops on him he actually complains.
Not many fans go to see the MVP shoot a high volume of free throws. It has almost gotten to the point where the league will need to look to change the rules so players like Harden aren’t rewarded for their antics.
Harden as MVP, no thank you.