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Has the NBA MVP become a glorified individual award like the Heisman trophy?

Column: Is the NBA MVP the new Heisman Trophy?

From the start of any season, media members, players, and the public generate their picks for who they feel will take home the big individual award at the seasons conclusion. Some take in to account stats, while others factor in team success or just pure greatness.

This year, the NBA MVP race seems to be a close one, but should it be? Houston Rockets guard James Harden is deemed the favorite by many media circles, while Cavaliers forward Lebron James and Pelicans forward Anthony Davis may take the backseat.

Harden makes a strong case for taking home to award, averaging 30 points per night during the regular season. He also became the only player to notch a 60-point triple-double, coasting by the Orlando Magic 114-107 on Jan. 17.

The past two seasons, Harden came in second place in MVP voting. This year, he has a better shot of winning it all. His team ended the regular season with a 65-17 record, ranking them No. 1 in the NBA ahead of bitter foe Golden State Warriors.

Unfortunately for Harden and the Rockets, they were bounced in the Western Conference Finals by the Warriors in seven games. That may take a huge blow into his chances of taking home the award.

Davis took a second-round playoff exit to the Warriors, losing in five games. On the other hand, James and his lackluster supporting cast remain in title contending status.

Although the team is down 0-3 in the finals to the Warriors, it is not over, and the narrative can be rewritten. If the Warriors come out champions for the second straight year, James will have lost to them twice consecutively and three times in the last four seasons.

If James chooses to wrap up this championship run and quiet all the doubters, he needs to win this championship. To benefit James, the NBA awards night will be held June 26, after the playoffs is over.

James has seven 40-point performances in this year’s playoffs, which is extremely unheard of. He gets minimal support from his teammates and they are still in the Finals. MVP should be given to James, simply because of he has kept consistency throughout the season and leading an average team to the playoffs.

Like college football, the nations best player receives the award. In recent years, we have seen Quarterbacks Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin lll and Marcus Mariota take home the award in New York City.

All of three of these players beat out players at their same respective positions. Only difference is, those players turned out to have much better professional careers. For example, Griffin received more votes than Tyrann Mathieu of LSU and Andrew Luck of Stanford. Both are now multiple time pro-bowlers.

Luck’s stats and team success was far better than Griffin and the Baylor Bears. He was the most pro-ready quarterback to NFL scouts, yet Griffin received all the accolades.

I believe the Heisman trophy is not given to the nations best player, but to the nations most popular player. Luck played in a boring pro-style offense, with midfield reads and a supporting cast who nobody knew.

Griffin ran a flashier read-option concept, as he would take off for 60-yard runs, turning a football game into a track meet. He also played with an outstanding receiving corps of Kendall Wright and Josh Gordon, who are now NFL wideouts.

The NBA now has the same problem. Harden plays the role of Griffin. He is the king of isolation basketball, which is when you leave him and a defender on an island and watch him get to the rim.

Even if he chooses not to shoot, his teammates lurk beyond the arc, waiting for the pass. James, on the other hand, uses his natural strength and intelligence to find the open man.

He flirts with a triple-double on any given night, which shows how much he does for this team. Without James, this team is in the NBA lottery searching for young talents.

Without Harden on the Rockets, they can be a fifth seed at best in the Western Conference.

After the NBA finals and all the confetti has been cleared, Harden will more likely take home the award. James, however, has done more with less. I guess voters won’t take that into consideration, just like the Heisman trophy.

Written by Prince Robinson Jr., Sports Editor. Photo Courtesy of MGN Online. 

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