When asked who’s the best, most athletes will almost always say themselves; it’s the attitude you’re supposed to have.  So it was no shock when James Harden chose himself as the NBA MVP.  He no doubt still carries a chip on his shoulder after losing out on the award to Stephen Curry during a season in which they were neck and neck.  But Harden didn’t name himself just cause, he gave reasons why.

Harden didn’t pause or blink when asked for his own MVP pick. He simply nominated himself.

“The Beard,” Harden told SI.com, before making his case. “Look at our record. Obviously the numbers, historic numbers. Just my performance overall.”

The 27-year-old Harden has shifted into a point guard role under new coach Mike D’Antoni. Through Saturday, he’s averaging 28.3 PPG, 11.8 APG and 7.6 RPG while posting a 28.3 Player Efficiency Rating (ranking fifth in the NBA) and a 6.94 Real Plus Minus (third). No player has matched Harden’s 28/7/11 boxscore line for an entire season since Oscar Robertson in 1966, although Westbrook won November’s Western Conference Player of the Month by averaging 31/10/11.

The departure of Dwight Howard, the promotion of Clint Capela to starting center and the arrivals of shooters Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson has put Harden in a position where he can play to his strengths and run the whole show, so much so that he recently told the Houston Chronicle that his new-look supporting cast is a “masterpiece.”

Harden’s former teammate Russell Westbrook is having a historic season as well.  Westbrook is AVERAGING a triple-double of 31 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 11.3 APG.   The Houston Rockets currently have a 13-7 record and the 4-seed in the Western Conference.  The Oklahoma City Thunder have a 13-8 record and the 5-seed in the Western Conference, plus Westbrook lost Kevin Durant; he’s building quite a case for himself.

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