Houston thinks James Harden should be the MVP, and isn’t afraid to tell you.
This is the most impressive NBA MVP race maybe ever — and here are 12 stats to prove it. But the race appears to be narrowing to two candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Obviously, Houston is going to vouch for its superstar, but now it has taken its campaigning for Harden to another level.
After Harden and the Rockets obliterated Oklahoma City, 137-125, on national television Sunday, with Harden having 22 points and 12 assists, here’s what they tweeted.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 26, 2017
WHEW that’s hot. Gahdamn that’s savage. That’s some take no prisoners ish.
This is obviously inspired by Drake’s recent More Life album cover, and it touches on the two parts of Harden’s MVP candidacy that theoretically put him ahead of Westbrook. His team is better, for one, comfortably sitting in the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference while the Oklahoma City Thunder are bouncing between No. 6 and 7.
The other argument is that triple-doubles don’t really mean anything — they’re incredibly impressive, but is 10-10-10 really that much more impressive than 9-9-9? Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has mentioned this before on Twitter.
If we might make someone MVP because they have hit a random combo of numbers then why not this random combo? https://t.co/HnAEvNHTfo
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) March 18, 2017
And again, more recently:
Morey’s argument is, obviously, that we care more about triple-doubles because we just love derivatives of 10. Our number system works in the power of 10, after all. There are plenty of incredible statistical numbers that would show Harden ahead of Westbrook, but they just aren’t as consumable for the general public. While that’s always going to be the case, MVP voters should look beyond that when making their selections.
So, naturally, the Rockets took Morey’s argument and made it concise and consumable by turning it into a meme. An incredibly effective one, at that!
Life’s funny sometimes.
The one other wrinkle to this story is that Harden and Westbrook are actually pals — he seems like one of the few people Westbrook does like around the league. The former teammates are still very friendly when they play each other or attend NBA events together. Hopefully, this race doesn’t get in the middle of that.