Brooklyn Nets: 3 reasons James Harden can win MVP in 2020-21

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 06: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 06: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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On a Brooklyn Nets team that featured the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving heading into the season, it has been new acquisition James Harden that might have the best shot of winning the MVP award out of all three of them.

Harden, who was acquired from the Houston Rockets in exchange for most of Brooklyn’s young talent and control of their draft for most of the next decade, has done everything the Nets have hoped he would’ve, and then some.

Harden has assumed the role of primary point guard and the focal point of the offense without Durant in the lineup, with Irving moving over to shooting guard. The switch has brought about some incredible results for the Nets, as Brooklyn has won 10 of their last 12 games.

While the likes of Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and the ageless LeBron James will be in the thick of the MVP voting this year, Harden has taken advantage of Durant’s absence, using it to vault himself into the MVP discussion.

Brooklyn Nets star James Harden is absolutely in the MVP discussion

James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
SAN ANTONIO, TX – MARCH 1: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Harden is contributing in a variety of ways

Harden was always a threat to tally a triple-double every night with the Rockets, and that skill has not abated after coming to the Nets. Since he was traded to Brooklyn, Harden has recorded eight triple-doubles in just 23 games, which already ranks second in franchise history behind Jason Kidd.

Harden is still scoring, but the lack of depth Brooklyn ran into thanks to the trade meant that he would need to take an advanced role in all other aspects of the game. Harden has taken to that role like a duck to water, quickly becoming indispensable to the Nets’ style on both ends of the floor.

James Harden is doing it all for the Nets

Harden is leading the team in rebounds and assists, all the while playing some excellent perimeter defense. In a Houston offense where he was asked to score first and not bother playing defense second, Harden’s ability to lock down on that end was often overlooked.

While Brooklyn is still by no means the 2003-04 Pistons on the defensive end, the Nets are starting to play passable defense, even amid a West Coast stretch in which the Nets were tested against the best teams in the conference. Harden is proving with Brooklyn that even when he isn’t scoring 40 a night, he can contribute to a winner.