Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni thinks James Harden should also win Most Improved Player
Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden is enjoying one of the finest seasons of his career. He finished the 2018-19 campaign at or near the top of several statistical categories, including points (1st), assists (7th), steals (2nd), and minutes played (3rd).
For this reason, many experts feel that Harden will earn this season’s MVP award. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, however, feels that Harden should also be recognized as the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
Coach D’Antoni said that besides MVP, James Harden should be the Most Improved Player. Cited his PPG increase, improved floater, improved step-back 3, and improved defense. #Rockets
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) April 26, 2019
Harden is already in contention for this season’s MVP award, but should he be considered for Most Improved Player as well?
As D’Antoni stated, Harden’s number have gone up. Last season, he averaged 30.4 points per game for the Rockets. This season, the Beard posted a career-high 36.1 points per outing. And on the defensive end of the floor, he recorded a career-high 2.0 steals per contest.
Harden has been on an offensive tear this season. In fact, he had nine games with 50 or more points. In two of those games, he had 60 or more. To put this feat into perspective, only three other players in NBA history have recorded seven 50-point games in a season, and their names are Wilt Chamberlain (five times), Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. All in all, Harden has 18 50-point games to his credit, which ranks fourth on the all-time list.
Players with at least seven 50-point games in a season:
Wilt Chamberlain (5x)
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 21, 2019
There will likely be several other candidates for this season’s Most Improved Player Award, but it’s clear that D’Antoni is willing to go to bat for Harden.