NBA 2018-19: 5 Preseason Picks for MVP
The most prestigious individual achievement award in the league is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. The award is a validation and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the league in MVP awards with six of the same. The award is being handed over to the best performing player since 1955-56. Stephen Curry became the only player to ever win the award unanimously after winning it in 2015-16.
Russell Westbrook won the award in 2016-17 after averaging a ridiculous triple-double over the entire season. He also became the first player to have played for a team that failed to win at least 50 regular-season games since 1982-83.
James Harden is the defending MVP and has won it after finishing his side finished top of the Western Conference last season. We look at 5 players who have a realistic shot at winning this highly coveted award in the upcoming campaign.
#5 James Harden
James Harden finally got his hands on the MVP trophy last season after leading the Rockets to the first seed in the Western Conference. The Houston Rockets finished 65-17 in the regular season, registering a franchise-record in terms of the number of wins. Harden, a 6-time All-Star averaged career-high 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists.
The Harden-Paul duo worked out really well and the Rockets made it to the Conference Finals. They lost to the eventual champions, Golden State Warriors in a well-fought 7-game series. Chris Paul averaged 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists and took some load off Harden which allowed James to go to the bench and come stronger.
This off-season, the Rockets have added Carmelo Anthony and a large part of team's success and James' own depends on how they shape up as a team. While Anthony can be a better fit on Rockets than he was on Thunder, it will be interesting to see if James' numbers drop because of the new All-Star and if he will struggle to adapt to the situation. If there is someone who can adjust to any situation and make it work though, it is James Harden.