In his 60 plus games this year, James Harden is playing quality basketball and should be this years NBA MVP.
1. Harden proved to be a much better off the ball player than most believed him to be.
Harden is mostly known for his isolation scoring and playmaking out of the pick and roll. When Harden made the move from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets, he was tasked with being the primary ball handler for the first time in his NBA career. When it was announced future hall of famer Chris Paul was joining the Rockets, there was a big debate in the basketball community on whether or not Chris and James could co-exist. Harden’s willingness to share the ball with Chris Paul has worked out beautifully. Harden has done a great job of proving to his doubters that he can play with or without the ball.
2. James Harden is finally playing defense again.
Again, with the move to the Rockets from the Thunder, James Harden made major adjustments to his game. One of those adjustments was to stop playing defense. As you can see in the gif below, Harden has become infamous for his lack of effort on the defensive end.
When Harden arrived in Houston, he was now the first option on his own team and he also had to get all his roles players involved. He sacrificed effort on the defensive to save energy for his new and expanded offensive role. However, James Harden has improved his defensive play in a major way this year and that has had a big impact on the entire team.
3. Houston is currently paying the best offense the NBA has ever seen.
The Houston Rockets this season have a offensive rating of 116.0, according to Basketballreference.com. That mark is the best offensive rating of all time. Unless there is a some type of unforeseen tragedy that will strike the Houston Rockets soon, they will end the season as the best offense of all time. The biggest reason the Rockets have taken such a step forward is their star player, James Harden. Harden has been the engine for this team all year long and he has the numbers to back it up.
As of today, James Harden is averaging 31 points and nine assists. He is currently leading the league in points per game. While last year, he lead the league in assists per game. This not a shadow of doubt in my mind that this the year, James Harden finally gets his hands on the MVP trophy.