As the All-Star Weekend approaches, the MVP conversation starts to garner more attention as people start to reflect on the first half of the season. Everyone has a different take on who they think is most “valuable,” but the general consensus is that the MVP will likely either be James Harden or Russell Westbrook. How do we decide who is more “valuable” to their team?
There is no one correct way to answer that question, but the question can be understood better if we compare these two in specific categories.
This category goes to James Harden, as his Rockets are 40-18, while Westbrook’s Thunder are 32-25. But James Harden does have better shooters on his team like Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson, while Westbrook seems to only have Victor Oladipo as a dependable shooter and scorer he can rely on. It’s essentially a toss-up: should we value Harden’s excellent record more or the fact that Westbrook was able to lead his team to the record they have with what they have? This question usually determines everyone’s MVP.
Charles Barkley of Inside the NBA on TNT values wins more, and so he sees Harden as the MVP so far this season.
“Right now, James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the front-runners for MVP, and I always give it to the guy who has got the better record.”
By the numbers
As of now, Westbrook is averaging a scorching triple double: 31.1 points per game, 10.1 assists per game, and 10.5 rebounds per game. After seeing numbers like this, some people will automatically give the MVP to Westbrook, like Shaq.
“The MVP is the single award for the guy with the best play.”
Nothing more, nothing less. Comparing Westbrook’s numbers to Harden, Westbrook does appear to have a slight edge in offensive output: 31.1 to 29.2 points per game, 10.1 to 11.3 assists per game, and 10.5 to 8.3 rebounds per game, respectively. Harden, however, seems to have an advantage in efficiency as Westbrook is shooting 42.2% from the field and 33.8% from three to Harden’s 44.0% from the field and 35.3% from three.
Flip a coin?
Both Harden and Westbrook have had tremendous seasons this year. They have been carrying their teams to heights that we never expected them to and are surprising all of us. In the end, the decision as to who the MVP is boils done to how each of us defines what a “valuable” player is to their team.
With such a close race, who do you have as the MVP?