Houston Rockets superstar guard James Harden had some words to say about the MVP race between him and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. On Sunday night, Harden stated that team wins should be the biggest stat line that voters should look at in the candidates.
“I think that’s the most important thing. I thought winning is what this is about — period,” Harden said after recording his 21st triple-double of the season in the Rockets’ win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. “I’m not going to get in-depth with all that, but I thought winning was the most important thing. If you set your team up in a position to have a chance, at the ultimate goal, that’s the most important thing.” Via (ESPN-Calvin Watkins)
James Harden thinks winning matters when it comes to MVP. pic.twitter.com/bfzym3sWW5
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 10, 2017
Harden and Westbrook are the front-runners for this award, and are having historic years in the NBA record books. Harden, who is averaging a near triple double, is putting up 29.3 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds. His team is 54-26, putting them third in the Western Conference. Harden is also in the running for most points created by his own scoring and passing in NBA history.
On the other side is Russell Westbrook, who just broke the single season record for most triple doubles (42). He is also the second player in NBA history to average a triple double. The only other player to accomplish this feat was Oscar Robertson, who did it in 1961-62.
Westbrook is averaging an absurd 31.9 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds. His team is 46-34 putting them sixth in the Western Conference.
Statistically, the Rockets offense this season is one of the 10 best offenses of all time. 👀https://t.co/Y1gma2yjeF
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 10, 2017
The past 34 MVPs have been players whose team finished in the top three of their conference standings. Out of those 34, only two of them were not in the top two. Again, team wins and conference standings play a major role in the voting.
Harden and Westbrook are good friends, and to see them going at it for MVP has to be weird for the both of them. That is why this statement by Harden is intriguing, with Harden has praising Westbrook’s triple double success:
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Harden said of Westbrook, whom he’s close friends with. “He’s been playing extremely well all season long, it’s never been done before, it’s a great individual accomplishment, and it’s great.” Via (ESPN-Calvin Watkins)