James Harden has been chasing this moment.
Harden was second in the MVP voting last season to Russell Westbrook, and in 2015 he was second to Stephen Curry. It bothered him. Harden wanted the recognition he felt he deserved.
This time around, he was second to nobody.
The Beard was named the 2018 NBA MVP.
This was expected, and well earned. Harden averaged an NBA-best 30.4 points per game (he was only the fourth player ever to average 30+ points on a 65-win team), still averaged 8.8 assists per game, and led the best offense in the NBA last season. Usually, the knock on Harden was his defense, but in the switching scheme the Rockets employed all season he held his own.
Plus, Harden was consistently impressive all season long, pushing the Rockets to the best record in the NBA.
Harden is only the second player in NBA history to win the MVP and Sixth Man of the Year awards in their career (Bill Walton was the other).
Harden had 86 first place votes out of the 101 cast by select media members. He beat out LeBron James who was a little ways back in second (15 first place votes), followed in order by Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.