Most Valuable Beard? James Harden's MVP quest

In last Friday's column, we checked out Westbrook's numbers. Yes, but that is where the "valuable" in "Most Valuable Player" comes into play.

When former baseball slugger Barry Bonds swatted 73 home runs - besting the former record of 70 - in 2001, there was no debate about who would come away with the National League MVP award. In Mike D'Antoni's high-octane offense, Harden's assists skyrocketed from 7.5 per game last season to 11.2 this year.

The Westbrook supporters point to the box score and the point guard's incredible triple-double average, something that hasn't been done in 50 years. That's really it. They are so dependent on Westbrook and to be frank, he doesn't have the suporting cast that Harden does.

"It's a huge accomplishment", Harden said of Westbrook, whom he's close friends with.

"I mean, he wants to play", Donovan said.

"I think he knows this is good for him". It's evident that Westbrook's valiant efforts have benefited his team. Instead, Harden complained about touches after taking only six shots in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals and OKC's chemistry was fractured. Only three times, and not since 1982, has the award been given to a player on a team with a winning percentage lower than.600. Combo-guard sharpshooter Eric Gordon should win Sixth Man of the Year.

On the season, Harden's Rockets have 54 victories, good for the third-best record in the tough Western Conference.

Ghost in the Shell
Unfortunately, Ghost in the Shell doesn't have a post-credits scene, but the movie definitely leaves the door open for sequels. Her human mind and personality is the ghost of the title and her manufactured body is the shell that contains it.

Meanwhile, James' Cavaliers have continued to struggle post All-Star break, Harden's efficiency has dipped and Leonard has remained, well, Leonard. "Guys in the National Basketball Association are talented so you've just got to figure out how to guard people, make it hard for them at least". He's also averaging 1.5 steals per game while going to the foul line more than anyone else in the league - almost 11 times per game. What are you looking forward to in the playoffs and who are your picks? Either way, though, a great case could be made for either of them to win MVP.

Harden not only averaged 11.2 assists per game for the season, but he was incredibly consistent in achieving that mark. Night in and night out, Houston relied on Harden to pull a rabbit out of his hat and create open looks for his teammates.

The Harden supporters go to the advanced analytics, a few of which, if combined correctly, say that the Rockets' talisman has posted the single most productive year in National Basketball Association history.

The other MVP candidates, Harden and Westbrook, have only heard legends about this thing called defense.

Curry, 29, is the league's back-to-back MVP.

Andrew Wiggins missed a three-pointer on the buzzer for Minnesota. The Spurs are 61-18 and in second place in the West. At the time of the article's publication, the Rockets were on pace to exceed that projection by 13 wins, making Houston easily the NBA's biggest overachievers. With Tim Duncan retired, Leonard has stepped right into his shoes as San Antonio's quiet, unassuming leader. Westbrook leads the league in uncontested rebounds, and he ranks 52nd in contested rebounds. Of course, Turner also tosses in a three every once in awhile as well. And unless the Thunder makes a "trade or sign a decent free agent that takes them back into championship contention, Westbrook falls short of the triple-double average, but earns his MVP through true selflessness", he ended. How the Thunder does in the playoffs is beside the point in the MVP race which covers only the regular season.