The MVP race for the 2018-19 NBA season wasn’t particularly exciting, as Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo ran away with the award over the remainder of the field. It was a deserved honor, as Antetokounmpo was a force on both ends of the floor for a Milwaukee squad that ended the regular season with the best record in the league.
Antetokounmpo received 78 of the 101 first-place votes cast in the race, with all of the remaining votes going to Houston Rockets ace James Harden. To his credit, Harden was excellent last year, but was unable to become the league’s first back-to-back MVP since Steph Curry.
Harden was asked about the MVP race during a radio appearance on 97.9 The Box, and made it clear that while he believed he had a special season, he posits he fell victim to a narrative surrounding Antetokounmpo.
“One for the books,” Harden said when asked about his campaign. “Even when I’m gone, they’re gonna talk about it.”
When asked if he was upset with how the voting went down, Harden replied, “It’s out of my control. Once the media, they create a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and run with it the entire year. I don’t want to get into details, but all I can do is control what I can do, and I went out there and did what I was supposed to do at a high level.”
Harden is correct that what we saw out of him was nothing short of spectacular — his 36.1 points per game led the league, and on top of that, he averaged 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds a night. He did a ton of heavy lifting for Houston, and without him, the Rockets are very possibly missing the postseason altogether. As for whether there was a narrative that cost him the award, you’d have to ask those who cast ballots, but in terms of numbers, impact on both ends of the floor, and team success, it’s hard to say that Antetokounmpo didn’t deserve it.
(Via Rockets Wire)