Cleat Geeks

James Harden’s Beard Deserves a Prize

When asked: Who should be the league MVP?  The popular choice probably would be Lebron James.  Lebron is one of the most skilled,kingJames athletic, and one of the most popular athletes in all of professional sports.  Lebron will always be in the NBA MVP race but will not win it every time. He has won four since entering the league in 2003 but there are other players that standout and could wear a crown fit for “The King.”

This year there have been several guys that have stated their case for MVP: The three point master from Golden State, Stephan Curry, the bearded freak from down South, James Harden, and the guy who makes triple-doubles look easy, Russell Westbrook.  When it’s all said and done there will only by one MVP, and he shall be the most valuable player in the NBA.

Now with the MVP to be chosen within a matter of weeks, I’m here to state my case for my choice for MVP: James Harden.

Since being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012, James Harden hasn’t been anything short of a star in this league.  He has average more than 25 PPG every season and shooting 36% from beyond the arc.  The Rockets have made the playoffs the past two seasons and now they are in sole possession of 2nd place in the Western Conference and looking to contend for a title.

John Hollonger creator of the stat player efficiency rating.

John Hollonger creator of the stat

This season, James Harden is posting career numbers across the board.  He is averaging 27.5 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.7 RPG and is shooting 44% from the field.  Harden is currently fifth in the league in player efficiency rating at 26.81.  Player efficiency rating brings all the players stats into one number.  Created by John Hollinger, he uses a certain formula to determine every player’s statistical performance throughout the season.  This certain stat is on the rise and is highly looked at by analysts surrounding the NBA.  Harden has shown poise and has single handedly  carried his team to where they are right now.

James Harden is my choice for MVP because he has truly separated himself from everyone else this season.   When you look at what he does from night to night, it’s phenomenal what he can do.  From posting a career high of 51 points earlier this week to averaging 10 free throws every game, Harden has done it all and has done it basically by himself.  Dwight Howard has missed a lot of time with injury putting Harden in even a bigger superstar role for the Rockets.  Don’t get me wrong, guys like Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverly, and Josh Smith are great role guys to have, but the Rockets don’t have the numerous superstars like a lot of Western Conference teams have.hardenRockets

What separates Harden from the rest of the of the MVP candidates has to be his ability to beat you off the dribble.  When Harden puts the ball on the floor, he is hard to stop.  Harden basically lives at the free throw line since he leads the league in that category.  In his past ten games, he has averaged 12.4 points for the free throw line.  That is ridiculous!  It’s got to be the beard right?

Here is an interesting stat: Last season, shooters were collectively 0.1% worse than their average with Harden defending them at the three-point line. This year that margin has “increased” to a 9.0 % deficit.  Harden has improved dramatically and all the pieces fit the puzzle.  I’ll leave you with 1 final impressive stat: Harden leads to the league in nine 40 or more point performances, and he has become the first player in Houston Rockets history to score 50+ twice in the same season.

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