While the NBA MVP award will not be announced until after the season, fans want to know if there is a way to find out whether Russell Westbrook or James Harden have the advantage in voting. As Heavy has detailed, the process is different this year, and the MVP will not be awarded until a post-season ceremony.
While the NBA does not have an “MVP scoreboard” where fans can keep track of who is winning, there are some ways to have a sense on how the voting went. Keep in mind all votes had to be submitted by April 14 so the voting has already been completed. SB Nation’s Dream Shake has taken it upon themselves to track down every single MVP voter and keep a running tally of the public votes to have a sense on how the voting went.
There are 100 voters and SB Nation has been able to track down first place votes for 59 people. You can check out the spreadsheet with their full findings here, but we’ll provide a summary.
They found 38 people (of 59 people) voted Westbrook in first place while Harden received 16 first-place votes. Kawhi Leonard received three votes while LeBron James received two. SB Nation’s current estimate has Westbrook leading Harden 463-326 including the votes each player received for first through fourth place.
This does not mean Westbrook has won the award as SB Nation has still been unable to track down votes from nearly half of the participants. It does show just how close this race is.
Given how Westbrook closed out the season, it indicates Westbrook is the favorite to win the award. Bill Simmons recently wrote a column on The Ringer about why he voted for Harden:
I loved watching Westbrook this season. Repeat: I loved it. I never imagined we’d see a Big O/triple-double sequel, just like I never imagined that Kobe could average 35 a game, or that Ron Artest could fight an entire section of Pistons fans without getting shanked. But if it’s down to Harden and Westbrook, and both sides are relatively equal, and we’re voting on offensive impact and team success over everything else and that breakdown comes down to this …
47 wins, 17th-ranked offense, zero chance of winning the title
55 wins, second-ranked offense (10th all time), puncher’s chance of winning the title
… I mean, what are we arguing about? And why the hell did it take me so long? I’m picking James Harden.
While we won’t single out an individual who voted for Westbrook, there seems to be a consensus among #TeamWestbrook. He has had one of the best statistical seasons in NBA history and became the first player to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson did it in 1961-62. Fans will have to wait until June to find out if it is good enough for him to win the award.