With the 2017-18 NBA season officially in the books, fans have now had their questions answered on a number of highly-discussed debates. Among the most notable was which player between Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden and Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James would take home the MVP award.
To no surprise, Harden managed to walk away with some serious hardware after edging out James. However, it appears the decision was not as close as some may have assumed, via Bleacher Report's Tyler Conway:
Needless to say, it is interesting to see that Harden won MVP by a rather comfortable margin. Although he may have been favored to win the award, it is a bit surprising to see that he received far more first-place votes than James did.
Both players were certainly deserving of the award, especially from a numbers standpoint. Harden led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game just a year after finishing as the assists leader. Speaking of which, he still managed to do so at a high rate with 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game.
He managed to fend off monster years from both James and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. The Cavs star is coming off arguably his best season yet after putting up 27.5 points and career-highs of 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game. It was also the first time in his career that he played in all 82 games. Meanwhile, Davis played perhaps better than anyone down the final stretch of the season following the season-ending Achilles injury to center DeMarcus Cousins.
However, it appears the combination of Harden's individual and team success was the deciding factor in the voting process. Not only did Harden put up monster stats all year, but he managed to lead the Rockets to a franchise-record 65 wins en route to the No. 1 seed in the juggernaut Western Conference. This is a team that was also one victory away from an NBA Finals appearance without their star point guard in Chris Paul. That said, Harden can finally scratch this achievement off the bucket list.