The 2017-18 season unfurled a new chapter in James Harden’s career, engraving his name as the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). With a staggering average of 30.4 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game, Harden piloted the Houston Rockets to the zenith of the NBA. His statistical grandeur, riveting playstyle, and leadership underscored his unanimous selection for the MVP accolade.
The Odyssey Pre-MVP:
Harden’s expedition towards MVP glory was a tapestry of relentless endeavor and evolution. Initially overshadowed by stalwarts like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook post his draft to Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, Harden’s brilliance sporadically shimmered through. A glimpse of his potential was a 40-point spectacle against the Phoenix Suns in April 2012.
His voyage took a decisive turn with a trade to Houston Rockets the following season. Embracing the mantle of the team’s primary scorer and facilitator, Harden’s inaugural season with the Rockets witnessed an average of 25.9 points and 6.1 assists per game. His ascent continued, peaking in the 2014-15 season, earning him a spot in the All-NBA First Team and propelling the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1995.
The Statistical Tapestry:
The 2017-18 season unfurled Harden’s statistical masterpiece. His averages of 30.4 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game were a testament to his offensive genius. His shooting metrics of 44.2% from the field, 36.3% from the three-point range, and 85.5% from the free-throw line painted a picture of efficiency and precision.
Remarkably, Harden’s 30.4 points per game were the highest scoring average in the NBA since Wilt Chamberlain’s epoch-making 50.4 points per game in 1961-62. His playmaking prowess also echoed through the league, ranking third in assists per game.
The Signature Symphony:
The signature step-back three-pointer was the linchpin of Harden’s success during the 2017-18 season. His virtuosity in creating space and sinking shots off the dribble, along with a penchant for drawing fouls, orchestrated a formidable offensive arsenal. Moreover, his elite passing ability orchestrated a Rockets’ offense that was a spectacle in terms of points per game.
The Pinnacle Performances:
The season was a chronicle of Harden’s memorable performances. His 61-point, 15-assist magnum opus against the San Antonio Spurs was a narrative of his offensive onslaught. Clutch moments, like the game-winning three-pointer against the Golden State Warriors, further embellished his 2017-18 tale.
The Leadership Lexicon:
Emerging as the torchbearer for the Rockets, Harden’s vocal presence both on the court and in the locker room sculpted a resilient team culture. His leadership was a beacon as the Rockets navigated through adversities throughout the season.
The MVP Contest:
The 2017-18 season saw a constellation of stars vying for the MVP honor, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry. Yet, it was Harden’s statistical allure, leadership, and the alchemy of elevating his teammates that set him apart in the MVP narrative.
The Adversity Atlas:
Critics often dissected Harden’s style of play, and a hamstring injury added to the adversities. Yet, his unwavering resolve steered him through these challenges, culminating in a well-deserved MVP accolade.
The Legacy Loom:
The MVP season wasn’t merely a personal triumph; it was a cornerstone that bolstered Harden’s legacy as an NBA luminary. It was an exemplar season that inspired a cohort of players, showcasing that MVP glory is attainable beyond the realms of traditional basketball.