Whatever you do, don’t suggest to Patrick Beverley that James Harden doesn’t have the NBA’s MVP award on lock.
Per The Vertical’s Michael Lee:
Patrick Beverley was asked, "If James [Harden] wins MVP…" Beverley interrupted: "If? If? When! When he wins MVP…what?"
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) March 13, 2017
The MVP debate has been diluted down to Russell Westbrook and Harden. LeBron James needs to be there, and Kawhi Leonard’s argument has picked up steam in recent weeks, but Harden and Westbrook remain the two favorites.
Westbrook is having a sensational season, averaging a triple-double and carrying a below-average Oklahoma City Thunder team toward a playoff berth. But Harden has been just as good statistically, looking specifically at his transition into the Houston Rockets’ full-time point guard spot, and his team is winning more—the latter of which is important.
Just one of the 37 MVPs in the three-point era have played for a squad that’s won less than 60 percent of its game during the regular season. Westbrook’s Thunder are on pace to win roughly 56 percent of their contests. That, along with his triple-double exploits, might be enough to make him the surefire runner-up, but if history is at all any indication of what’s to come, Beverley is right.
Harden has already won the MVP award.