D'Antoni: Harden not only MVP, but most improved, too

AP
Published 6:29 p.m. ET April 27, 2019

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston coach Mike D’Antoni thinks James Harden should win a second straight MVP award.

The veteran coach also believes the Beard should take home another award, too.

“I don’t know if he’ll get MVP, he should in my opinion,” D’Antoni said. “But he definitely should get most improved player because he’s improved his game.”

It’s daunting to think: Harden is actually getting better. And there are plenty of numbers to back it up as the Rockets prepare to play the Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals starting Sunday.

A year after Harden became the first Rocket to win MVP since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994 when he led the team to the first of two titles Harden has improved in almost every statistical category.

He raised his scoring average from 30.4 to 36.1 points lead the NBA, upped his rebounds from 5.4 to 6.6, improved his steals from 1.8 to 2.0, raised his free throw percentage from 85.8 to 87.9 and made 4.8 3-pointers a game after averaging 3.7 a year ago.

And those numbers don’t even take into account how much he’s improved on defense and the skill with which he uses his step back 3-pointer.

Never…

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