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Bulls coach Jim Boylen believes Rockets’ James Harden is the MVP

James Harden, Jim Boylen, Rockets

The 2018-19 NBA MVP race has mostly been narrowed down to just three players in recent weeks, with James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George taking center stage.

Giannis’ line of 27.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists has paced the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the league. George was arguably the best player in the league from December to January, galvanizing the Oklahoma City Thunder and playing excellent defense to compliment his scoring.

And yet, it is Harden that may win back-to-back MVPs as he has helped the Houston Rockets climb all the way to third in the Western Conference despite early-season struggles and a host of injuries to Chris Paul and other key contributors.

Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen believes Harden is the MVP because of his ability to shred defenses and make plays regardless of who is guarding him.

According to ESPN, Harden leads the NBA with 25.0 Estimated Wins Added, over four more than Giannis. He also ranks third in PER behind Giannis and Anthony Davis.

But it is Harden’s scoring that has captured NBA audiences all season long. Harden is averaging 36.5 points per game, getting to the rim at will and making defenders look silly with a ridiculous array of step back jumpers.

Harden tied his career high of 61 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs last night, going 9-13 from the three-point line. This performance came just two nights after Harden reeled off 57 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Should he take home the MVP, he would become the 11th player in NBA history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.