Harden over Giannis, by a whisker

For NBA MVP, David Thorpe picks the Beard over the Freak

By David Thorpe

With the best time of the NBA year—the playoffs—a mere eight days away, soon we will see the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Rockets’ James Harden playing their hardest on national TV. It will be an amazing time to assess who is more valuable.

The thing is, by then, the MVP will already have been picked by 100 media members (plus one collective fans’ vote). The NBA mailed the ballots earlier this week, and the media have to submit them by April 12. The winner will be announced June 24, at the league’s awards banquet in L.A.  

I don’t know why we don’t have a Most Outstanding Player award for the regular season—the best player during those 82 games—and then a different MVP for the postseason. That’s what makes the most sense to me. I’m not even so clear on how voters ultimately decide for the current version of MVP.

What IS clear to me, though, is that 90+ percent of the first-place votes will go to Harden or Antetokounmpo. The reason? They’ve dominated in the two ca…

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