82 games flew by just like that. And boy has it been a different kind of season this year. I for one was expecting a ho hum, completely predictable regular season, with the Cavs and Warriors dominating everyone else in the league.
The final standings table starts out with an absolute shocker, with the Boston Celtics finishing with the 1st seed in the East ahead of LeBron and Co. Out West, Warriors and Spurs finish 1-2 as everyone and his aunt expected. But the Dwight Howard-less Rockets surpassed everyone’s expectations by storming out the gates with a lightning pace offense and finishing 3rd, ahead of the Clippers. So things didn’t turn out exactly as most people expected, and for the better too.
The most talked about storyline that dominated the NBA press for pretty much the entire season. You have a guy here who average a triple double. And another who was just 2 rebounds shy.
OKC lost Durant but became one of the most watched teams, with Westbrook going nuclear on a nightly basis. You might be tempted to accuse him of stat chasing, but he’s undeniably won at least half dozen games by himself, with countless fourth quarter heroics this season, erasing Oscar Robertson from the record books along the way. (Which no one thought was ever possible)
Harden will be absolutely livid if he misses out on another MVP, after coming ever so close and being the first choice of other NBA players two seasons ago. And he’ll be justified. Playing in Mike D’Antoni’s point guard friendly system, Harden turned into the best playmaker in the league. Finishing 1st in assists, and 2nd in scoring, Harden just barely missed out on setting some ridiculous records himself. He was simply the perfect guy for the Rockets system, or you could say he was the system.
The back and forth between the two made the usually mundane games pod the regular season much more watchable, as fans tuned in across the globe early anticipating another 50-10-10 triple double from either guy. And both delivered, not once, but over and over again. That is why, for me, there’s no other way but to recognize both simply unprecedented, ridiculous seasons, by naming then both as co-MVPs this year.
EXTRA: OKC fans turn away now…
If not for a complete fluke injury, it was highly probable that the 3rd front-runner for the MVP race would have been Kevin Durant, who was taking over the Golden Seagate Warriors from back-to-back MVP himself Steph Curry. So a 1-2-3 finish in the MVP race of Westbrook, Harden, Durant was definitely on the books. Just a little footnote for those who thought Sam Presti was right to trade Harden in order to pay Serge Ibaka…