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Harden and Westbrook compete for MVP

Zehra Jaffari, Student Life Editor

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This NBA season, there has been great controversy over who the MVP, or most valuable player award, should be awarded to for exemplary performance as a player. The current debate on who should be MVP for 2017 has been between James Harden and Russell Westbrook. James Harden, who is shooting guard for the Houston Rockets, was drafted in 2009 for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he has been awarded and acknowledged for earning All-NBA team for the 2014-15 season, NBA sixth man of the year in 2012, NBA All-Rookie team in 2010, and Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in 2009. On the other hand, Russell Westbrook, point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, was drafted in 2008. Westbrook has been awarded as six-time NBA All-star, two-time NBA All-Star game MVP, made the 2009 NBA all rookie team, all NBA team in 2016, and named best comeback athlete ESPY award in 2014.

Westbrook and Harden, both breaking records this year, have also been performing with numerous triple-doubles. Westbrook, as of this season, is the first player since 1962 Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double per game. Westbrook was averaging 31.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. Harden was averaging 29.4 points, 8 rebounds, and 11.3 assists with data that has not been that exemplary since 1962 as well. Both have significant shooting advantages, with Harden averaging 44.8 field goals %, 35.2 3 points %, 84.8 free throws % and Westbrook scoring 42.2 field goals %, 33.6 3 points %, and 83.9 free throws %.

One characteristic that makes Harden stand out is his efficiency in three-pointers. So far in 2017, Harden has had 1,381 points from three pointers and free throws. Similarly, in 2016, Harden had 1,428 points from three pointers and free throws. For assists, Westbrook is averaging 23.8 assists, whereas Harden is averaging 27.5 assists. The Houston Rockets have made NBA history on March 30, 2017 for the highest number of 3-pointers.
With playoffs around the corner, the Western Conference for the NBA currently has the Houston Rockets as number three and the Oklahoma City Thunder as number six. The winner receives the  Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is named in honor of the first commissioner of the National Basketball Association. Both are known for their outstanding and record performing offensive plays, Harden and Westbrook, former teammates who also made it to the NBA Finals together, are fighting for the title as the Most Valuable Player

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Harden and Westbrook compete for MVP