The 2017-18 NBA MVP race was one of the most interesting that we have seen in years. It came down to Houston Rockets guard James Harden and, at the time, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. Although Harden won comfortably, the statistics suggest that this race should have been down to the wire.

Irv Roland, Harden's personal trainer, has a suggestion as to why he was such a clear-cut choice to the voters even though the numbers showed the players were neck and neck, via Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson's Scoop B podcast.

“His level of hunger versus ours…We are trying to get our first title, I think it's a little different.”

While he may be a biased source, Roland has a point. Harden seemed to be determined to crush teams in the regular season, and he helped the Rockets achieve the best record in the league at 65-17.

James, on the other hand, had a troublesome regular season. He looked lackadaisical on defense at times, especially during the Cavs' stretch of 11 losses in 15 games in the middle of the season. Even imploding the roster midseason did him no favors.

But even lazy LeBron defense isn't too much worse than Harden's, which has been maligned for years now, you can make the point that James dragging such a shoddy group so far should earn him points.

Because the numbers between the two were fairly close  (30.4 points, 8.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 44.9 percent from the field per contest for Harden and 27.5 points, 9.1 assists, 8.6 boards, and 54.2 percent from the field per game for James), there must've been a defining factor that led to a Harden landslide victory. Perhaps Roland was on to something.