James Harden was the NBA’s MVP this season NOT Giannis Antetokounmpo.
That’s according to former NBA All Star Gilbert Arenas.
“He carried his injured teams to the Playoffs on his back,” Arenas told NBA writer, Landon Buford.
When I say carried his team, I want you to listen to the height line-up to see the impact James Harden had.
Arenas lists all of the players in that lineup which incudes a 6’1 Chris Paul, a 6’3 Eric Gordon and Harden and P.J. Tucker who are listed at 6’5, respectively.
“So four of your players are 6’1, 6’5, 6’3 and 6’5, says Gilbert Arenas.
“That is a YMCA lineup!”
In the regular season, the Houston Rockets were dangerous behind the strong play of James Harden, the league’s leading scorer.
Harden ignited the Rockets and is the reason players like as Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Kenneth Faried thrive in the team’s offense.
Harden had the highest usage in the league (39.3 percent) but also ranked 12th in the league for assists per game.
During the regular season, the Rockets relied on making three-pointers or scoring easy buckets at the rim, particularly out of the pick-and-roll and are truly an analytics-era team.
The Houston Rockets led the league during the regular season in three-pointers attempted per game (45.4) and three-pointers made (16.1).
The Rockets benefitted from Harden’s ability to score and facilitate and benefitted from having one of the best offenses in the league.
If their offense is in top form, they’re a tough team to beat.
In the NBA Playoffs, Houston lost in Game 6 to a Kevin Durant-less Golden State Warriors.
“You have AAU teams bigger than this lineup,” Gilbert Arenas told Landon Buford.
“And it’s probably the smallest lineup in NBA history. This is perhaps the smallest lineup in NBA history and you have a guy averaging 36 points per game. He gave everyone the thought that this team could compete for an NBA Championship and his output this year was better than last year.”
That’s quite a debate.
The 2018 Western Conference Finals was a series NBA fans and specifically, Houston Rockets fans won’t soon forget. James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets held a 3-2 lead entering Game 6 on the road and had the chance to win their first NBA Finals since the 1994-95 season.
Unfortunately, an injury to point guard Chris Paul derailed things a bit. The nine-time NBA All-Star missed Game 7 of the series on Houston’s home floor due to a strained hamstring. There was plenty of chatter about whether the Rockets would have won that game had Paul played. “Chris Paul doesn’t play, we miss 27 straight threes,” former Houston Rockets coach, Irv Roland told me last year on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I’ve never seen you play basketball, but I would bet that if I put you on the basketball court, you’re going to make at least one of those 27. That just doesn’t happen, especially for a team like ours. All that said, we only lose by nine. You put Chris Paul on the floor, I’d have to venture off to say that we win that basketball game.”
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Gilbert Arenas furthers why Harden was more derving of the MVP award in comparison to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I’m just going to be blunt, I don’t think he should have won it this year,” said Arenas.
“It is not Giannis fault.”