NBA regular season MVP race is on: Harden, Antetokounmpo, George battle for MVP recognition

Randy Sforza, Sports Writer

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With the NBA All-Star weekend concluding, this is the perfect time to discuss Most Valuable Player candidates at the mid-season mark.
Milwaukee Bucks’ power forward Giannas Antetokounmpo, Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Paul George, and Huston Rockets’ shooting guard James Harden are all performing remarkable well this season, leading to them all banging on the MVP door.
Cases can be made for all three special athletes to win 2019 MVP honors.

1) Giannas Antetokounmpo

The “Greek Freak” is having an outstanding year, which has correlated to the new success the Milwaukee Bucks have obtained this season. Under Giannas, the Bucks currently possess the best record in the entire NBA. The 43-14 Bucks are 8-2 over their last 10 games. In addition, they are the number one road team this season with a 20-9 record, just in-front of the back-to-back NBA Finals Champion Golden State Warriors (19-9).

The Bucks’ franchise success rides on the shoulders of the 6’11 power forward from Greece. Giannais is setting career highs this season in almost every statistically important category. This season, he is averaging 27.2 points, 6 assist, and 12.7 rebounds this season. Not to mention, he is an effective defensive presents ranking 15th in blocks and 25th in steals.

Furthermore, Giannas is the second-most efficient player in basketball arriving to stadium with 35 percent efficiency rating. The Greek Freak is shooting 58.1 percent from the field, which makes him ninth amongst all active players, even though he is shooting almost double the amount of attempts. Finally, The 24 year-old international star led the Eastern Conference in votes, leading to him captaining his very own All-Star team against Team LeBron, where he scored a game-high 38 points on 74 percent shooting from the floor as the NBA’s best watched.

2) Paul George

When Paul George decided to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, many NBA experts seen it as a selfish move predicated on money and not focused on winning. They believed this true because many of those same experts view Russell Westbrook as a toxic player.

This season is proving that to not be the case in OKC. George is actually ascended to one the very best two-way players in the game playing alongside his brother-in-arms Westbrook.

Some might even proclaim George has already transformed himself into the best two-way basketball player over stepping LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. Paul George is currently set at number one in the league in steals, averaging 2.3 per-game.

He is also second in the league in scoring, averaging 28.7 points per game, the highest of his nine-year career. In fact, he is setting a career-best in assist (4.1) and rebounds (8). Furthermore, George is having his most efficient year from 3-point range.

George is shooting 41 percent from three and is 3rd in 3-pointer makes this year. In addition to individual success, the team is actually winning as George’s MVP case builds.

The Thunder are third in the western conference and 11-2 in their last 13 games. Over that stretch, George is averaging 35 points per-game.

3) James Harden

The reigning 2018 MVP James Harden has been putting on a sensational show all season. Harden is currently averaging 36.6 points per game, 8 more points’ per-game than Paul George, who is second to Harden.

Harden is setting history this season, becoming only the second player ever to score 30-plus points for 31 consecutive games. Additionally, Harden has a legit opportunity to finish the season averaging over 35 points per-game. In the last thirty years of basketball history, only Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have reached such a feat. In 2018-19 regular season,

The Houston guard still holds the record for the most points scored in a game, when he dropped 61 in Madison Square Garden versus the New York Knicks. Not to mention, Harden is outshooting arguably the greatest two 3-point shooters of all time, i.e. the Splash Bros, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Coming off the All-Star break, Harden is leading the league in three-point shot attempts made with 274, 38 more than Curry and 114 higher than Thompson. James has positioned the injury-filled Houston Rockets into a playoff contender.

They are currently fifth in the Western Conference, even without All-Star point guard Chris Paul (hamstring) and rim defender Clint Capela (thumb) out due to injury.

Finally, Harden leads the league in minutes played this season, which shows to the Rocket’s fanatics that he is doing everything in his power to make that franchise successful.