Signs Point To Harden As MVP And Doncic As Rookie Of Year

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 3:14 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 3:14 PM UTC

The NBA season is at the three-quarter pole and it’s time to consider who will take home the hardware for Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year.

<h2>Most Valuable Player: James Harden</h2><p>If you were to have looked at the <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/" title="Live NBA Odds Board">NBA odds</a> at the beginning of the season to find out what Houston would pay if they wound up winning the West and the NBA title, you would have seen that the Rockets trailed only Golden State. Now, if I told you that Houston would be in the No. 5 playoff spot immediately after the break with a 33-24 record, you would in all likelihood surmise that James Harden got injured or some other calamity befell the Rockets. Ironically, Harden is setting the NBA ablaze with 23 games in which he has scored 40 or better and is currently on a tear, amassing 30 or more points in 31 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 65-game run.</p><p>Certainly, a case can be made that the Rockets’ disappointing performance should hinder Harden’s chances to claim the award; after all, it is Most Valuable Player as opposed to League’s Best Player. But Houston has had its share of critical injuries in which Chris Paul and Clint Capela have found themselves on the shelf for considerable stretches. Those absences give credence to Harden winning the award, despite stout competition from the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, and Paul George. Let’s continue to watch Harden make history and wish him well when he takes home the hardware at the end of the season.</p><p> </p><h2>Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic</h2><p>The 19-year-old kid from Slovenia has taken the mystery away from this award. Picked No. 3 in the draft by the Dallas Mavericks, Doncic has debunked many of the concerns surrounding his selection which focused around his perceived lack of speed and whether he could hang with the more talented competition at the NBA level. Consider those questions answered and then some. Doncic could indeed become only the second rookie in NBA history to average at least 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Only Oscar Robertson achieved this feat, way back in 1961, when it earned him the Rookie of the Year Award as a member of the Cincinnati Royals.</p><p>[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/L4hlqUoLt9k", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</p><p>Despite the fact Doncic is a veritable lock to win Rookie of the Year and will bring home the cash for all of those prescient enough to back him in their <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nba/" title="Free NBA Picks">NBA picks</a> before the season began, there are four other candidates who could surprise down the homestretch if the wheels fall completely off of Doncic’s wagon. No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton has had a solid season for the Suns but their record is no better because of it. Ayton’s 16.5 points and 10.5 boards per game are evidence that Phoenix has a young, big man with enormous potential for years to come. Speaking of potential, Atlanta’s Trae Young has plenty of it, as does Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley III. But this season belongs to the slick, 6-foot-7 Slovenian and will be just one of many awards he will win over the course of what is projected to be a storied career.</p>
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