Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the forgotten contestants in this year’s NBA MVP popularity contest.
Despite the fact that the same teams have been meeting in the Finals over the past four years, the NBA switches MVP’s like iPhone chargers. Over the last half decade, voters seem to be against selecting repeat winners.
Last season, James Harden was the flavor of the year. This year, it’s “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and the return of King James and Curry to the MVP mix. If Toronto keeps winning, Kawhi Leonard will also figure more prominently.
Which excludes three former winners who are having MVP-caliber seasons but getting very few mentions this season. All three guys used to play on the same OKC Thunder squad.
The man who has made triple-doubles as common as the alley-oop is just two years removed from an MVP campaign that had people calling him the game’s best player. Michael Jordan even compared Westbrook to himself.
Not much has changed with Russ’ game. On Saturday night, Westbrook passed Kobe Bryant for 30th on the all-time assists list. He’s averaging a triple-double for the third straight season ( 21.1 ppg, 10.5 boars, 10 assists) and he’s even taking his fewest shots per game since 2015-16, KD’s last year with the squad.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 16, 2018
Westbrook’s possibly a better player now than when he won the MVP two seasons ago. He’s learned how to play with other stars, has a great relationship with Paul George and the Thunder are 18-10, good for third place in the tough Western Conference.
Russ is definitely MVP worthy.
Kyrie Irving created a stir back in June when he tabbed James Harden as the “people’s MVP” and LeBron James as the “NBA’s MVP.”
Irving admitted that LBJ has the more well-rounded stat line, but when it comes to getting buckets in a multiplicity of ways, Harden has an alligator-skin attache case with an artillery of go-to moves.
The Beard is having another great statistical season. But after pushing Golden State to seven games in last year’s Western Conference finals, Houston is currently sitting in 11th-place. That has everything to do with why Harden is being overlooked in the MVP conversation.
Harden leads the NBA in scoring at 30.9 points per game and he’s been putting up some huge numbers, trying to keep Houston above water so that they can go on a second half tear.
James Harden Western Conference player of the week. Averaged 37 points, 8.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 1.67 steals, made 54.1 % from the floor, 39.3% from 3-point range.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 17, 2018
In fact, Harden is on pace to become the first player to average at least 30 points and eight assists in back-to-back seasons since Michael Jordan in 1987-88 and 1988-89.
If Houston can rebound, Harden can definitely get back into the race.
KD’s had his moments this season and his social media comments and increasingly vocal demeanor have kept him in the headlines, along with his explosive offensive game. But overall, the four-time scoring champ has taken a back seat to Steph Curry this season. Despite Curry missing a large stretch of games, he’s still being mentioned as the team’s MVP.
Durant did some heavy lifting during Curry’s absence, dropping a season-high 51 points in a tough loss to Toronto. However, without the heart and soul and two-time MVP Curry, the Warriors just weren’t the same dominant force. The squad’s winning percentage is significantly higher with Steph — second in the NBA in scoring at 29.3 ppg — on the court.