James Harden didn’t win his second MVP award last season, but he still holds respect around the NBA as one of the league’s best players.
ESPN released an offseason survey Wednesday in which it asked 20 coaches, scouts and executives various questions about perhaps the most eventful offseason in recent memory.
One of the questions asked who’s the best player in the NBA. Harden came in third with two votes, trailing Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2019 NBA MVP. Leonard received 12 of the votes, and Antetokounmpo earned six.
An executive spoke on how Harden is one of the NBA’s most dynamic offensive players, referencing how he’s able to score well and make plays for the Houston Rockets.
“His scoring is just special,” an executive said, when asked to explain why Harden was his choice. “His ability to elevate a team with his offense as a passer and scorer is as good as it gets. To rely on him to carry an offense every night and stay healthy, he’d be my No. 1 guy.”
With Harden receiving two votes, it shows how his value for the Rockets has been recognized around the league. Harden was a force last season, going on a scoring tear. He scored at least 30 points in 32 straight games, the second-longest streak in league history.
Harden averaged 36.1 points per game, the highest points per game average the league has seen since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 points in the 1986-87 regular season.
Along with his scoring, though, Harden also was a quality playmaker. He averaged 7.5 assists and ranked No. 7 in the league for the category; last season was the fifth time he ranked in the top 10 for assists a game