James Harden is still a baller
Reason number one is an obvious one. Harden isn’t going to quit knowing how to ball out. He isn’t going to suddenly be bad at shooting threes. He’s not going to forget how to be an excellent passer. Simply put, Harden is still a baller and he’s going to keep being a baller for a long, long time.
Harden is at the top of the conversation for the best scorer in the NBA. He is a terrific three-point shooter who is in the perfect offense for that portion of his skill set. Harden has also led the NBA in free throw makes and attempts four years running. If teams press him hard around the perimeter he can slash into the lane and either get some free throws or net an easy layup.
Harden is also one of the league’s premier passers. In the 2016-17 season, he led the league in assists per game with 11.2 dimes per game. Paul joining the fold was sure to drop those numbers and they did. He only dished out 8.8 dimes per game in his MVP season.
Harden was also able to up his defensive chops this past season. He increased his intensity but, adding Paul also allowed him to take a smaller responsibility on the defensive end. Harden will never be an all-time stopper on the defensive end but, he is on his way to becoming a pretty well-rounded player.
So, Harden has a shot at repeating as MVP because he’s a phenomenal basketball player and one of the best in the world. But, there are a lot of players with a similar claim so, there has to be more for Harden to be able to successfully repeat as the MVP of this league.