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#pounditSunday, May 16, 2021

James Harden makes bold MVP proclamation

James Harden

James Harden is a part of a three-headed monster in Brooklyn. But he still thinks he has done enough individually to earn the NBA’s highest award.

After dropping 44 points in a win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday, the Nets star was asked if he belongs in the MVP conversation.

“I am the MVP,” he declared, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.

Harden, who arrived on the Nets in January, is averaging 25.4 points and 11.5 assists per game for his new team this year. That is a much lower scoring output than what he was putting up with the Houston Rockets when he won MVP in 2018. But Harden also has a higher field goal percentage now to go along with the higher assist numbers.

The 31-year-old Harden has held down the fort in Brooklyn while Kevin Durant has dealt with a hamstring injury and Kyrie Irving has been in and out of the lineup for personal reasons. Harden may also benefit in MVP voting from the time missed by players like Joel Embiid and LeBron James.

Still, Harden’s season is probably not as impressive as the ones that players such as Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo are putting together. But regardless of his place in the MVP race, Harden has had a massive impact for the Nets since his arrival in more ways than just one.

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