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Chris Paul: James Harden Will Be MVP; 'Not Even Going to Be Close'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2018

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shakes hands with Chris Paul after a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul said teammate James Harden will win the Most Valuable Player award for the 2017-18 NBA season, and he predicted the vote is "not even going to be close."

On Friday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle passed along comments from Paul, who noted his backcourt mate's impact goes far beyond his often eye-popping stat lines.

"You look at how many different lineups we've had," he said. "Look at what he does for our team. All everybody does now is look at the numbers. Nothing against stats. … But nobody looks at how the game went. Watch the game, too. I'm here. I get to see what he's doing night in, night out."

Harden finished second to Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook in last season's MVP voting and is once again among the top contenders for the league's highest individual honor.

The 28-year-old Arizona State product leads the NBA at 31.5 points per game and ranks third in assists at 9.1 per contest. He's also averaging 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three-point range.

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His Player Efficiency Rating (30.34) edges the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.67), Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (28.62), New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis (28.09) and Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (27.73) for the No. 1 spot, per ESPN.com.

In addition, concerns about whether Harden and Paul could coexist after the latter's arrival in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers faded, as the Rockets have looked like a legitimate championship threat en route to a 37-13 record, second in the NBA to the Warriors (41-11).

"A dynamic guard like that, a guy who can score and pass, do whatever, I think he showed everybody why he's going to be the MVP. Not even going to be close," Paul concluded.

Harden will look to keep building his MVP case Saturday night when Houston visits Quicken Loans Arena for a marquee clash with James and the Cavs.

 

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