After finishing second in MVP voting in two of the last three seasons, Rockets guard James Harden claimed the honor Monday at the NBA Awards.
Harden was the driving force behind Houston earning the top record in the NBA and getting the best record in franchise history this season at 65-17. He was the league's leading scorer at 30.4 points per game and he was third in the league in assists, dishing out 8.8 helpers per contest. Harden is the third player in Rockets history to win the award, and he is the first since Hakeem Olajuwon won in 1994. Moses Malone is the only Houston player to win the award twice, capturing it in 1982 and 1979.
Harden is the second player in league history to win the Sixth Man of the Year and MVP at some point in his career, joining Bill Walton.
LeBron James was another finalist for the award after finishing third in the league in scoring with 27.5 points per game and second in assists with 9.1 while also collecting 8.6 rebounds each game. James was able to lead the Cavaliers to the Finals for the fourth straight season despite only having the fourth seed in the East.
Anthony Davis was the third finalist for the award after a season in which he was second in the league in scoring with a career-high 28.1 points to go with a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game along with 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and a career-high 2.3 assists. He guided the Pelicans into the second round of the playoffs after sweeping the higher-seeded Blazers.