Many people thought it was merely a formality that James Harden would be name the NBA’s MVP for this past season. Others went to great lengths to suggest that it would be a travesty if he was not named the winner of the award. Well, all of those worries were put to rest on Monday as the Houston Rockets guard grabbed the award after the best season of what has been an already impressive career.
Harden, who had believed that he would win the honor last season and was thus very disappointed when he did not walk away with it, did not even prepare a speech this time around. Perhaps it was that bit of a luck that pushed his bid over the top. Harden did so because he led the league in scoring, averaging 30.4 points a game, all while the Rockets won the most games they had ever won in franchise history at 65. He’s only the fourth player to ever average 30 points in a season while winning that number of games, joining elite company like Michael Jordan, Steph Curry, and Kareem.
Harden might have taken home the big prize, but others were also honored across the NBA. Executive of the Year stayed close to home for Harden, with his own GM Daryl Morey winning it. The biggest bit of news not surrounding “The Beard” has to be the naming of Dwane Casey as Coach of the Year. The former Toronto Raptors coach was fired after losing four straight, again, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs, but before that had helped them to their best regular season record ever. He beat out the Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens, much to the chagrin of many fans.
Defensive Player of the Year went to the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, who eclipsed Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis to take the crown. Lou Williams, of the Los Angeles Clippers, took home Sixth Man of the Year honors. He overcame Eric Gordon and Fred VanFleet. Victor Oladipo won Most Improved Player for the Indiana Pacers after scoring just over 23 points a game and making the All-Star Team.