Throughout the NBA’s regular season, MVP candidates have come and gone. LeBron James was eliminated from the conversation when he went down with his groin injury. Joel Embiid dropped out after a slow start from the 76ers.
However, The Beard and The Greek Freak have been in the conversation all season long, and are now the front runners heading into the final stretch.
Who deserves to win the NBA MVP this season?— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 22, 2019
A) Giannis Antetokounmpo
B) Paul George
C) James Harden pic.twitter.com/mG9tmUyZZo
Who is ahead right now? Who will take home the hardware?
Here’s a look into the two-headed MVP race:
Harden and the Rockets had a very rocky start with Chris Paul and Clint Capela going down with injuries. It got so bad that many sports analysts were starting to ask the question: “Will Houston make the playoffs?”
Harden showed up to save the season.
Right now it's like James Harden has effortless alien superpowers, like it's not fair for the humans trying to guard him, like he can toy with them by doing whatever he wants, unstoppably.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 3, 2019
The Beard recently went on an absolute tear as he had 32 straight games where he scored 30 or more. That is the second most all-time.
Who is first? Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. That’s a very good name to be mentioned in the same sentence as.
When Harden doesn’t score 30+, the Rockets are 6-7 as opposed to 26-16 when he does. Harden is averaging 36.3 ppg, which is almost 8 more ppg than Paul George who is in second. He is also dishing out 7.6 apg and ripping down 6.6 rpg.
The ASU product brought the Rockets from out of the playoff picture to the 5th seed in the West with his hot 32-game stretch.
Take a breath after reading that name.
We’ll just refer to him as “Giannis” or “The Greek Freak.” A freak is exactly what he’s been so far this season.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO PUTS GOBERT ON A POSTER pic.twitter.com/dnv4xRy1v4— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) March 3, 2019
Giannis isn’t putting up the scoring numbers that Harden has, as nobody else is either. Nevertheless, he effects the game in a lot more ways than scoring, even though he can do that too.
The Greek Freak is putting up 27.2 ppg, dishing out exactly 6 apg, and ripping down an incredible 12.7 rpg. Giannis is fifth in total rebounds per game and is the only forward other than Anthony Davis in the top 10.
Not only is Giannis putting up great scoring numbers, he’s also doing it very efficiently at a 58% clip while Harden is shooting 44%. On top of all this, the Bucks are the sole owners of the best record in the NBA, and have had the best record for months now. This is an incredible feat considering the Bucks finished 7th in the East last year.
Who is Leading/Dark Horses?
At this very moment, Giannis should be in the lead without question. Considering how efficient he has been, and considering the Rockets’ terrible start to the season, Giannis is the clear leader.
With all this being said, is there anyone else in the race currently? LeBron, Embiid, Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Steph Curry have all been eliminated. There is now only one remaining player to challenge Harden and Giannis.
2018-19 NBA leaders in Points Per 100 Possessions:— Rob Kimbell (@RobKSports) March 2, 2019
1. James Harden – 47.9 *
2. Steph Curry – 39.3
3. Joel Embiid – 38.1
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 37.9
5. Kawhi Leonard – 37.4
6. Anthony Davis – 36.8
7. Kevin Durant – 36.8
8. Paul George – 36.2
* Best in NBA history
That player is Paul George.
As I mentioned earlier, PG13 is second in the league in scoring with 28.6 ppg. George is also adding 4.3 apg and grabbing 8 rpg. OKC is officially his team now and Westbrook has became the sidekick. George has led them to the third seed in the West, hot on the trail of the Nuggets and Warriors.
Paul George: The most complete player.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) March 1, 2019
35 pts // 8.4 reb // 5.4 ast // 2.1 stl pic.twitter.com/Louqn0ukve
With about 20 games remaining for every team in the regular season, anything can happen. The race is starting to reach its’ climax, and this is one of the tightest competitions in years.