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  • most of the stuff that James Harden has done in the Brooklyn Nets uniform is without the services of Kevin Durant.

  • Um, and to some degree without Kyrie Irving.

  • And so when I look at it, I say to myself, Damn, this guy comes into Brooklyn.

  • He's, uh, three time leaders, league leading scorer, 30 points per game.

  • Over the last three games, he's been absolutely sensational.

  • And then he comes to Brooklyn and says, I'll be the point guard.

  • I'll be the facilitator.

  • I'll get everybody involved and carries like thank you very, very much.

  • That's exactly what I wanted to hear.

  • That's news to my ear, and he's has run this team.

  • Joe Harris was on the walls podcast, and he was talking about what a godsend James Harden has been.

  • What a leader he has been, how he's distributing the basketball, etcetera, etcetera.

  • James Harden is flat out bawling.

  • He's I mean, he's putting up triple doubles like they're going out of style.

  • He's leading the league in assists.

  • He's still averaging 25 a game, and by the way, despite their troubles, they've won 10 of their last 11 games and this man has led the way, and they're only a half game out of the Philadelphia 76 is for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference without again the services of Kevin Durant for the last 18 games.

  • That's why I look at James Harden in this fashion.

  • That is why I believe he is the league.

  • M v p.

  • At this moment in time, Harden has been unbelievable.

  • You know, I think is playing the best basketball of his career, and that's saying something.

  • I don't think he can be the M v P right now.

  • He didn't start the season with the team, and it's not like even if you think somehow he's been the most valuable player, it's not by enough to say, Let's not count the games that he wasn't there that Embiid was there.

  • Joel Embiid has been the M V P right from the start of the season until now.

  • So far in the first half, it's been wire to wire MV number one.

  • Even if you think Harden has been better offensively and that's debatable, I think you could easily argue MP.

  • It's been better offensively, averaging 30 with 11.5 boards and a block and a half with 30 points a game, and his efficiency numbers are right there.

  • Actually wanna know who has better efficiency numbers right now on offense, At least P er, right, his Yokich.

  • But Embiid has been incredibly efficient and prolific, scoring the ball.

  • And even if you want to argue, Harden has a tiny little advantage because he's orchestrating the offense.

  • What about the defense?

  • Like Harden is an underrated defender.

  • I'm on the verge of saying he's a good defender.

  • Not quite there yet, but Embiid is.

  • If he's not the best defensive player in basketball this year, he's the best defensive center.

  • If if Ben Simmons or you want to point to one or two other guys, but he's on that level, you can't look at anyone.

  • Say, Yeah, that guy was really much better defensively than MP this year.

  • That's half the game.

  • And then look at how am Beat is leading his team, even like you're talking about guys getting ejected.

  • He's pointing to like he wants Donovan Mitchell ejected.

  • He's like doing what LeBron did to to uh to, uh, Draymond Green.

  • He's kind of egging him on.

  • He's being competitive.

  • All around.

  • He's going into every arena saying, Okay, who's the other guy is big go bears the big I want his pelt on my wall.

  • Myles Turner.

  • Whoever it is, proving that he's better than the opposition night in and night out Hard has been amazing.

  • I can't say he's the M v p over Embiid so far.

  • And by the way, to say nothing of LeBron who's missed one game.

  • Yeah, I feel where you're coming from.

  • I don't I don't listen.

  • James Harden.

  • Joel and Beat has been a monster.

  • He's been sensational.

  • But James Harden um, right now, I think that you have to take a few things into consideration.

  • He was out of shape.

  • Uh, you can hold that against him.

  • Obviously, I choose to hold it in in his favor.

  • In this regard?

  • Yes.

  • He came into camp Missy Skip training camp.

  • He came into the season out of shape.

  • Uh, you know, his last few games in Houston?

  • Definitely.

  • He was.

  • He was.

  • He was tank.

  • He didn't give a damn because he wanted out.

  • And he made it very, very clear.

  • And he knew the only way he was going to get out of there is if he was a bit truculent to some degree, and that's what we saw.

  • But ever since he's arrived in Brooklyn, we've seen the real James Harden.

  • And I did say we've seen an elevated level of James Harden because in Houston he was your primary offensive option.

  • He knows that isn't the case in Brooklyn.

  • In Brooklyn, you've got Kyrie Irving, and then he's made it a priority to get the Jeff Green's to Joe Harris is even the DeAndre, Jordan's and others the TLC s and others involved in game action.

  • And so he's truly, truly running that team and reminding us of the potential that he presumably had at Oklahoma City.

  • When the Oklahoma City Thunder clearly said, This is Russell Westbrook's team, it's not yours.

  • You're not that dude as of yet.

  • And he went to Houston and immediately started showing.

  • Oh, yes, he is that dude.

  • And so I think, as a result of that, and also some of the things that we said about him, you've acknowledges improved play defensively.

  • Offensively, we know what he can do.

  • We wondered what he was willing to do, and now we're not even wondering about that anymore.

  • Meanwhile, while the Sixers are loaded and healthy, they're still holding off a dear life to the number one seed because Brooklyn is on their heels without Kevin Durant and in some games without Kyrie Irving, this man, James Harden, is reliable, independent, able, not just available.

  • He's all of those things because every night, night and night out, he doesn't want to take games off.

  • He wants to play.

  • He has never engaged in load management in his career.

  • He's never done it.

  • And so these are the kind of things I think he's forcing us to look at and to view him in the light that an M V P should be looked upon.

  • Let's not exaggerate Kyra's absence, though.

  • He has played in 26 games, he's averaging over 35 minutes a game, and Kyrie, And by the way, Harden also gets credit for this.

  • But so does Kyrie has been playing winning basketball, a winning brand of basketball, not just putting up numbers.

  • And when you bring up guys like Joe Harris, dude might be the best shooter in the league other than Steph Curry, right, like Joe Harris can shoot the lights out.

  • So it's not like in Cady's absence, they don't have a squad they got, they got guys who can play.

  • I agree with it.

  • Alright.

  • We asked our first take family at home.

  • They thought it was indeed, Um, he won the pole of Who's the M V P right now?

  • But this was kind of interesting guys.

  • LeBron beat out Harden Max your thoughts on that.

  • LeBron being ahead of hardened for M v p.

  • Yeah, I would say Embiid one.

  • LeBron to harden three.

  • I can't believe I'm saying Hardens even top three, considering he wasn't there for the beginning of the season for the Nets.

  • But he is.

  • He's forced his way into the conversation.

  • Two weeks ago, it was LeBron.

  • A week ago for me, it was in B because LeBron and the Lakers had gone on a four game losing streak, and now it's harder that number one and be that number to LeBron and number three.

  • It's fluid because it's that close.

  • All three are balling, and I'm sure that we'll revisit this week to week as the season progresses.

  • But right now, as I'm sitting here today based on what I've seen the Philadelphia 76 have been on a little roller coaster.

  • Brooklyn has won 10 of their last 11, and the Lakers won a little bit of roller coaster.

  • And Harden hasn't had k D.

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most of the stuff that James Harden has done in the Brooklyn Nets uniform is without the services of Kevin Durant.

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A2 harden james harden brooklyn embiid james lebron

Stephen A. and Max debate the NBA MVP race: James Harden, Joel Embiid and LeBron | First Take

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/05
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