James Harden doesn’t want to discuss possible MVP award, scoring title
James Harden has done a practically superhuman job leading the Houston Rockets (53-24) to near the top of the Western Conference standings, especially given the lengthy absence of center Dwight Howard.
Even though the Rockets cannot catch the Golden State Warriors (63-15) for the West’s top seed, the team still has plenty of work left if it hopes to hold off the Memphis Grizzlies, who at only one game back, is nipping at Houston’s heels.
Harden’s stellar play throughout the season has made him a frontrunner for both the MVP award and the NBA scoring title. But don’t bother asking the superstar about any potential postseason awards. In fact, he’d appreciate it if the topic wasn’t even brought up around him.
“I don’t want to hear it, don’t want the hear it,” Harden said Thursday, per ESPN.com’s Calvin Watkins. “The most important thing right now is winning. I’ve said it plenty of times; it’s winning and getting a rhythm going into the postseason.”
Harden instead stressed it’s more important to get the Rockets in a rhythm ahead of the playoffs than pondering any personal accolades.
His clutch play throughout the season and especially down the stretch has made Harden is one of the favorites to win the MVP award, along with Warriors star Stephen Curry, among others.
With scoring outbursts of of 41, 51, 44 and 50 points in the past 10 games — all Rockets victories — Harden currently leads the league in scoring, averaging 27.7 points per game, ahead of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook by a miniscule 0.2 points, meaning he is in prime position to claim the NBA scoring title on top of a possible MVP award.
Despite being adamant about not wanting to hear about any possible personal hardware at season’s end, Harden did admit he’s flattered by the notion his name is being mentioned in the discussion.
“Yeah, especially where I came from,” he said. “Coming off the bench, sixth man and having to work my way up to where I am now. I’m definitely honored and it goes to the hard work and dedication that I put in every single day.”
(photo credit: USATSI)