NBA Awards 2018: Houston Rockets Guard James Harden Wins MVP
on Jun 26, 2018 06:34 AM EDT
Scoring champion James Harden added another hardware to his plethora of awards when he bagged his first NBA MVP award on Monday.
Harden who also won the league-scoring champion after averaging 30.4 points per game last season beat LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans for the plaque. The Los Angeles native who led Houston into a stellar 65-game winning season became the first Rocket to win the award since Hakeem Olajuwon did it in the 1993 to 1994 season.
He also became the fourth player in league history to average 30 points per game and steer his team to 65 victories. Harden joined Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to achieve such feat.
It was indeed a sweet victory for Harden who wound up second in voting to Oklahoma City Thunder court general Russell Westbrook last year. Prior to winning the MVP award, Harden also took home the 2011 to 2012 Sixth Man of the Year plum.
"Wow. All glory to God man. All Glory to God. Wow. Huge shout out to the NBA. NBA and all the legends that paved the way for me to be able to play this game like I do and like I love" said an emotional Harden.
The Rocket guard also extended his gratitude to his mother, Monja Willis, whom he described as her backbone through the good and bad times of his career. Harden led the Rockets into the playoffs this season only to lose against the current NBA champion Golden State Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
Simmons Wins Rookie Of The Year
Meanwhile, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons took home the Rookie of the Year plum beating Jayson Tatum of Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. While Mitchell spearheaded the Jazz into the playoffs, experts believe that Simmons had a better overall game this season compared to the former.
Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz snagged the Defensive Player of the Year tiara beating Davis and Joel Embiid. On the other hand, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers pocketed the Most Improved Player of the Year award while Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers was named as the Sixth Man of the Year.
Other winners include Dwane Casey who took the Coach of the Year recognition, Community Assist awardee Kevin Durant and Jamal Crawford who grabbed the Twyman Stokes Teammate of the Year plum. Oscar Robertson was recognized by the league with a Lifetime Achievement award while Amir Johnson and Daryl Morey captured the NBA Hustle Award and the Executive of the Year accolade respectively.