Faceoff: NBA Most Valuable Player race

Taylor Frank Houston Rockets guard James Harden is an animal. The man sports one of the greatest beards in humanity. His favorite food is chicken pasta. And—most importantly—he is scoring 27.7 points per game to lead the Rockets into their fourth straight postseason.

Since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden has become a prolific scorer—averaging over 25 points per game in every season with Houston. This season, Harden is shooting the lights out of every building he enters. He has two 50-point games this season—his most recent coming on April 1 against the Sacramento Kings.

What makes Harden even more special is his innate desire to win. The Rockets are battling to get home court advantage in the playoffs; there are currently five teams within two and a half games of each other occupying the second through sixth seeds in the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference.

When a reporter asked him about possibly winning the MVP award and the scoring title, Harden responded, “I don’t want to hear it, don’t want to hear it.” He continued, “The most important thing right now is winning. I’ve said it plenty of times; it’s winning and getting a rhythm going into the postseason.” With just four games left in the regular season, every game is crucial for Houston and Harden is well aware of that fact.

Besides scoring a ridiculous amount of points, Harden also leads the Rockets in assists per game and steals per game. He is among the top nine players in the league in each of those categories. Although he may not have the ball handling abilities of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, his ability to create points is undeniable.

The MVP award should go to the player who is most valuable to his team’s success. This year, it’s not Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James or Curry; it’s James Harden.



Billy Burns

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has always been a special player. Bob McKillop—the head coach of Davidson College while Curry was in school—certainly knew that. “Wait ‘til you see Steph Curry. He is something special,” he said at an alumni event.

Curry stepped onto the scene as the breakout star of the 2008 NCAA Tournament when he led 10th seeded Davidson to the Elite Eight. On the way, he knocked off seventh seeded Gonzaga University, second seeded Georgetown University and third seeded University of Wisconsin. But Curry did not stop there.

Curry has worked his way into being the best player on the best team in the National Basketball Association this season. He is leading the league in three-pointers made this season with 268 while teammate guard Klay Thompson is in second with 220. Curry has led the Warriors to an NBA best 63-15 record with an astounding 35-2 record at home. He is also averaging 23.6 points per game to go along with four rebounds and eight assists in only 33 minutes of play per game.

Curry should be the MVP because of his will to win and his ability to create points. He has been a human highlight reel, making impossible shots look easy and putting on a dribbling clinic every time he touches the ball. He was an All-Star and he won the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. The only thing left would be to add an MVP trophy.

Curry has the makings of a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and shows no signs of slowing down. Come playoff time, I believe the Golden State Warriors can hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since 1975 all thanks to their MVP, Stephen Curry.