James Harden named NBA's Most Valuable Player

LeBron James

LeBron James

"I mean, the last four years I've been knocking on the door", Harden said, any hint of emotion tough to discern behind his bushy beard and massive sunglasses. "Good times, bad times". In comparison, the second place finisher, little-known Cavaliers player LeBron James, garnered just 15 first-place votes.

Harden didn't prepare a speech. Many felt Harden should have won both years, but last year's was especially questionable considering how a triple-double narrative overshadowed Harden's individual and team success.

"Then I interviewed with (Pistons owner) Tom Gores".

- Harden hit 265 three-pointers this season, the ninth-most three-pointers hit by a player in a single season.

"Couple cases", Harden said, grinning. Houston general manager Daryl Morey was also named Executive of the Year.

Russell Westbrook was named MVP ahead of the Houston star past year and Harden, 28, was taking nothing for granted despite being expected to land the award for the first time. A former NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star, Robertson averaged 25.7 points, 9.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds over 14 NBA seasons between the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was named Rookie of the Year ahead of Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Boston's Jayson Tatum. He also led the league in steals for the first time.

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Rudy Gobert took home Defensive Player of the Year after helping the Utah Jazz get a fifth seed in the playoffs.

Plus, Harden was consistently impressive all season long, pushing the Rockets to the best record in the National Basketball Association.

Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers took Sixth Man honors. Aside from leading the team in games played (79) and points per game (22.6), he brought heart and energy to a team, and a fan base, in desperate need of each. He was the NBA's scoring champion (30.4 points a game) to go along with 8.8 assists a game.

Williams kissed his two young daughters on his way to the stage after becoming the Clippers' third victor in the last five years.

Dwane Casey was crowned Coach of the Year after guiding the Toronto Raptors to first place in the Eastern Conference. "And like I said, to everybody that's helped me, you know, and we'll figure it out".

The clutch shot on February 7 gave the Cavaliers a two-point win in overtime against Minnesota and signaled a change in attitude for James heading into the second half of the regular season. The 28-year-old finished second to Russell Westbrook last season.

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