James Harden
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

James Harden of the Houston Rockets takes home his first NBA MVP after edging out LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

All three of these guys were more than deserving of the MVP this season, but James Harden takes it home. He just missed out on winning the award last season to Russell Westbrook, but this year he beat out LeBron James and Anthony Davis to win the award.

Harden put up ludicrous numbers this season, averaging 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game. The former Sixth Man of the Year winner was remarkably consistent this season, but he also blessed NBA fans with some of the most incredible performances we will ever see.

In a January game against the Orlando Magic, Harden recorded a triple-double, but that wasn’t all he did. He also happened to drop 60 points on a remarkably efficient 30 shots. These types of jaw-dropping performances were a big reason why he edged out LeBron and Davis.

It’s always an interesting debate when the MVP is given out. On one hand, Harden had the most impressive season for sure, but it’s hard to argue that he was more valuable to his team than LeBron.

But that being said, the NBA MVP has traditionally gone to the player with the most impressive season despite the moniker of “valuable” being attached to the award. It’s hard to argue with Harden winning the award after the incredible season he put together.

Most of the awards tonight had expected outcomes with a few exceptions. Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers took home Rookie of the Year honors despite a strong push from Donovan Mitchell and to a lesser extent, Jayson Tatum.

The Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was awarded Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in his career. Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis were the other finalists, but Gobert’s 2.3 blocks per game and elite level rim protection were enough to edge out the competition.

The Sixth Man of the Year went to the Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams despite excellent cases to be made for Eric Gordon and Fred Van Vleet.

The Most Improved Player went to All-Star Victor Oladipo. Oladipo made a tremendous jump in Indiana this year and went from a nice player who could start for most teams, to a bonified All-Star that could put his team on his back. Clint Capela of the Rockets and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets were also finalists, but it was pretty clear that Oladipo had this one locked up.

And in a somewhat awkward moment, Dwane Casey was awarded Coach of the Year despite being fired by the Toronto Raptors. It was an interesting situation for sure, but Casey handled it with grace and class.

There were a bunch of winners at the 2018 NBA Awards show, but there’s no denying that Bill Russell stole the show. People will be talking about Harden’s MVP for a while, but no one will forget Bill Russell flipping off Charles Barkley.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.