Thursday night the offensive juggernaut called the Rockets set a franchise record scoring 90 points in the first half. Finishing the game with 142 points, the Rockets saw themselves in first place in the West, ahead of the Warriors. Propelled to the win by their star guard James Harden who scored 48 points, are we finally going to see the beard win his first MVP?
James Harden has been an astonishing player his whole career but really flourished when given his own team to lead when traded to Houston back in 2012. With an excellent 2014-2015 NBA season, he was only shown up by none other than Stephen Curry who led he Warriors to win the title. Taking a step back the next year, Harden had an incredible bounce back year last season finishing second to only Russell Westbrook who he himself had a record breaking season.
With Russell Westbrook paired up with two stars in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Lebron James still plagued by voter fatigue. The Warriors, who like the Thunder have too many star players who cancel each other out. Kawhi Leonard who is reluctant to the spotlight. The only threat I see to challenging Harden is Giannis Antetokounmpo who is and will have a great year. But the fact that the Rockets will likely have the better year record wise, it will play in favor of Harden going home with his first Maurice Podoloff Trophy.
Harden has been good for many years now but the changing of the coach to Mike D’Antoni has really helped James to max out all his skills on the offensive end. Almost averaging a triple double last year while leading the league in assists and second in scoring, he is off to the same start this year. The move to point guard was a game changing move as well. With the ball in his hands more he has shown his great ability to create shots for others and himself.
The acquisition of Chris Paul will benefit Harden too. The aging Paul will take a back seat to Harden, but the nine time all star will still be a great weapon to help win games. Harden will still be the superstar but any team now who wants a shot at winning needs at least two star players.
James Harden will continue to dominate the league this season with his euros and step back threes in route to win MVP. A long awaited one for the Houston Rockets guard who has been so close the following years but always came up one player shy. With Harden being the lone true superstar on one of the best teams in the Western Conference and other candidates having barriers in their way, there is no doubt the beard will win over the voters and take home the hardware.