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NBA MVP Race

Giannis+Antetokounmpo+is+one+of+the+two+canidates+for+MVP%2C+the+other+is+James+Harden
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NBA MVP Race

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the two canidates for MVP, the other is James Harden

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the two canidates for MVP, the other is James Harden

Photo Credit: photo via flickr under the creative commons license

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the two canidates for MVP, the other is James Harden

Photo Credit: photo via flickr under the creative commons license

Photo Credit: photo via flickr under the creative commons license

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the two canidates for MVP, the other is James Harden

By: Matthew Mendives, reporter

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This years MVP race has been exciting, to say the least. The two players in the race are Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks and James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Antetokounmpo has been a great player and he is leading his team to wins. The Bucks currently have the best record in the league; they were the first team to clinch a playoff spot and 50 wins. History is on Antetokounmpo’s side if the Bucks can keep the best record, ten of the last fifteen MVP’s have come from the team with the best record. They were not projected to do anything close to this, ESPN had them tied for fourth in the east. Some people give majority of the credit to Mike Budenholzer. I don’t agree with this because having a good coach is only part of winning games. Budenholzer has made the game easier, but Antetokounmpo is the main reason the Bucks have been this good.

Antetokounmpo’s stats may not jump out like Harden’s, but he’s good in his own right. His averages are 27.4 points, 5.9 assists, 12.5 rebounds and 58.2 field goal percentage. His field goal percentage is tops for players who average 20 ppg or more. He’s been good on defense as well. By the eye test alone he’s been a top ten defender in the league. He is ranked third in defensive rating for players who play at least twenty minutes. There are few players who dominate on both sides of the ball like Antetokounmpo.

Harden may not lead his team to as many wins as Giannis, but this is understandable due to the rosters injuries. Chris Paul has missed 24 games this season, while Clint Capela has missed 15 games. Missing key players like this will usually take a toll on a team, though Harden kept the ship afloat. The Rockets were 14-10 without Paul and they were 9-6 without Capela. It is true that a healthy Rockets team is better than a healthy Bucks team, we haven’t seen a healthy Rockets team that often. When Harden sits out however, the Rockets have a pretty mediocre 2-2 record. The two loses are blowout loses. Not only did Harden win despite injuries, He recovered from a 4-6 start to the season.

Harden’s stats have been out of this world with 36.4 points, 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds. Since 1980, there have only been three players who averaged 35 points or more. Those players are Michael Jordan in 1986-1987, Kobe Bryant in 2005-2006 and Harden this year. Harden has nine 50 point games including two 60 point games. The only other player who has more than one of those games is Devin Booker. Harden had a 30 point streak of thirty two games, which is the second longest thirty point streak in NBA history. He is also one of the eight players with at least five triple doubles. The main thing that people usually use against Harden is his defense. He has improved this season, putting more effort into his defense.

Both of these players have really good cases, however, I believe the MVP should go to Antetokounmpo. Harden last year won for similar reason to why Antetokounmpo would win this year, leading his team to the best record while putting up great stats. It’s not fair to change up the logic just to give Harden another MVP. The only time since 2000 that the MVP didn’t go to a player with a top four record is Russell Westbrook, who was the first player to average a triple double since 1961-1962. Harden’s 35 ppg season is great, but has been done more often than averaging a triple double. Also the last two players to average 35 ppg did not win MVP.

Stats are accurate as of April 2, 2019.

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About the Writer
Matthew Mendives, Reporter

Matthew Mendives is a 15 year old sophomore who was born September 24,2002. He lived in Plainsboro, New Jersey for one year then moved to Linden, New Jersey....

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