James Harden

On Friday James Harden had another great night in what is turning out to be a remarkable season for the Houston Rockets’ shooting guard. During a home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harden became the first ever player to manage a 40 point triple-double in less than half an hour, scoring eight three-pointers in the process.

This was Harden’s fourth 40-point triple-double of the season. The rest of the league only has a single instance between them, scored by Bradley Beal for Washington against the Phoenix Suns. Harden has also managed at least five 3-pointers in a stretch of 12 consecutive games; the previous longest streak, just seven games, was held by the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.

Though always a proficient scorer, Harden was criticised for his defensive deficiencies earlier in his career. Tackling those issues has made him into a much more complete player, and contributed greatly to the Rockets’ recent success.

The Next Back-to-Back Winner?

Harden’s heroics this season has led to the odds of him being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) fall to 7/4 with William Hill. Second in the running is Giannis Antetokounmpo, the “Greek Freak” of the Milwaukee Bucks, at 2/1. Los Angeles Laker LeBron James is at 8/1.

James Harden is the reigning MVP, having being awarded the accolade for a season in which he averaged 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. Should he be selected this year too, he will join an exclusive club of back-to-back winners which includes LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan.