By Hayden Bonine
James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets
Rockets’ guard James Harden is not getting enough attention. Take a moment to consider these statistics: Harden leads the NBA in points per game (31.4), his team has the second-best record in the NBA (15-4), he is first in 3-pointers made (4.3), second in assists (9.8) and first in free throws both made (8.2) and attempted (9.5). Both the media and public’s favor lean toward new candidates, the up-and-comers, rather than candidates whom have showed consistent dominance. Harden is so good his brilliance has become the standard. He is expected to record league-leading statistics, therefore, it is not news when he does so. Harden may go under the radar, but his individual greatness and his team’s prowess should be recognized.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Boston Celtics
Point guard Kyrie Irving has quickly taken control of a team he joined only a few months ago. He leads the Boston Celtics in nearly ever statistical category: points per game (23.1), assists (5.1), field goals made (8.5), 3-pointers made (2.1), steals (1.7), free throws made (4.0) and attempted (4.6). Although those numbers may not be eye-popping, Irving has been the best player night in and night out. The Celtics have the NBA’s best record at 18-3 and they have the longest winning streak of the season at 17 games. by Irving’s 47-point outburst against the Dallas Mavericks and a dominant win over the defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors highlighted the winning streak. After a devastating injury to Gordon Hayward and an 0-2 start, nay-sayers were quick to dismiss the Celtics, but Irving has led Boston to the top.
LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James does it all for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He can play any position, score, pass, rebound and play defense. James has provided no matter what his team has needed. At the beginning of the month, James scored 56 points against the Washington Wizards. Since then, Cleveland has a 9-2 record and are on a seven-game winning streak. After a subpar 4-6 record to begin the season, James has led the Cavaliers to a 12-7 record. Twelve wins is tied for the third highest win total in the NBA. James holds the third highest total for points per game (28.5). He is also second in field goals made (11.1), fifth in assists and is carrying an astonishing field goal percentage of 58 percent. James has been a force throughout his career, and after getting his team back on track, he is in the MVP discussion.