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NBA players pick Harden over Antetokounmpo for MVP in survey by The Athletic

Houston Rockets v Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets during the second half of a game at Fiserv Forum on March 26, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo or James Harden.

It’s one of the closest MVP races in recent memory and it’s come down to the best scorer in the game against the guy who is the focal point on both ends of the floor for the best team in the NBA. It’s not an easy decision and who someone backs says as much about what they prioritize in the MVP voting as it does the players themselves.

What do other NBA players think? The Athletic polled about a quarter of the league anonymously — on a variety of topics, including GOAT and most overrated, it’s worth checking out — and asked them about the MVP race, and the players leaned Harden.

1. James Harden (44.3%)
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (38.9%)
3. Paul George (12.7%)
4. Joel Embiid (1.7%)
5. Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard (1%)

The most surprising thing to me is that more than 15 percent of players who went with someone outside the top two.

There is an absolutely great case for Harden. However, talking to other MVP voters, my guess is Antetokounmpo is going to win the award.