NBA MVP Watch: James Harden
After being named the NBA's Most Valuable Player last season and taking the Houston Rockets to the Western Conference Finals, Houston was earmarked for a big season again in 2018-19, with James Harden at the forefront.
Then during the offseason, the Rockets said goodbye to a couple of their most loved role players (Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute), and took a chance and signed Carmelo Anthony to see if that could boost their roster to finally get to that next stage. But the season didn't start as expected for Houston, but that has been no fault of Harden.
This season, the reigning MVP is averaging more points than last season (last season he averaged 30.4 and won the MVP. Through the season so far he is averaging a whopping 31.5!) and this campaign became the only player in history to notch four 50-point triple-doubles in NBA history, when he finished the game against the Lakers five nights ago with a box score of 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Harden himself has performed hugely, but he may run into the problem of not having team success. The Rocket's start to the season was less than desirable, and they currently sit at 10th in the Western Conference at 15-14. The Carmelo experiment did not pan out, and the Rockets are still looking to get back to the top of the conference like last season.
Although James Harden is still dominating and is in line for MVP numbers - team success is one thing that MVP voters look for.
Will Harden be able to take the Rockets to the playoffs off his own back, or can the Rockets add another piece to provide some kind of support? Either way, Harden could have the greatest season but if the Rockets don't make the playoffs, he can almost certainly cross off any hopes he might have had for back-to-back MVP seasons.