James Harden was an obvious winner of Western Conference Player of the Month for January. His selection by the NBA is no surprise. But how to decide among the Atlanta Hawks’ several deserving candidates? The league couldn’t, evidently, so simply did what Mike Budenholzer’s team has done all season – spread the wealth. Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford – Atlanta’s entire starting five – join Harden as Players of the Month for their respective conference.
The Hawks set a record by going 17-0 in a calendar month during their total 20-game winning streak. All five starters averaged double-figures, and Teague, Millsap, and Horford were named All-Star reserves last week. Korver is a possible injury replacement for Dwyane Wade, too, while the remarkably steady Carroll enjoyed a career-month by shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc while playing typically stellar defense.
Harden averaged 25.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists last month. He shot a scorching 41.7 percent from deep on nearly seven tries per game and got to the free throw eight times a night, too. The 25 year-old scored at least 30 points on seven different occasions – including a stretch of games with 45, 33, 33, and 37 points – to guide the injury-depleted Houston Rockets to an 11-7 January record.
The likely MVP front-runner and the league’s best story? Harden and the Hawks sound like pretty deserving honorees to us.
What do you think?
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