|Chris Hu said:
Harden's numbers are way more impressive he will end up having the highest points per game scoring average since Kobe Bryant averaged 35.40 ppg in 05-06. And he is putting up those numbers in the still vastly superior Western Conference where there is really only one terrible team which is the Suns. Meanwhile in the East there are four terrible teams the Cavs, the Hawks, The Bulls and the Knicks and more then likely 2 to three teams with sub 500 records will make it into the playoffs while in the West 2 to three teams with winning records will miss the playoffs.
We still have exactly half of one season to go, buddy. I highly doubt that PPG average stays that high, especially once Chris Paul returns. Since you're comparing Harden to Kobe's records, how about that 1-17marksmanship from 3 against Orlando last night?
Giannis is on pace to finish the season with the most dunks since prime Shaq in '01-'02, is shooting a higher FG% than Harden (57.9 to 43.4) and has a high eFG% (59.1 to 54), and they are both tied at fourth in the league with the same number of total FGs made through 39 games. However, while Harden leads the league in total FGA by a wide margin (29 highter than #2), Giannis leads the leage in 2-point FG made, while Harden isn't even in the top-20. You're going to say, "But threes are worth more than dunks!," but I will remind you sir that a dunk is the most sucecssful and efficient, therefore the most prized and optimal shot in all of basketball.
James Harden leads the league in 3PM, 3PA (by about 124 more than #2, Steph Curry), and FG missed, which tells us that Harden is getting to that PPG average and way, way, way more chances than anyone else in the league. He also leads the league in FTM and FTA , although Giannis is #4 and #6 in those fields, respectively. Harden's game is predicated on getting to the line though, and he fishes for drawing fouls. Giannis just happens to get there because he's such a dominant monster in the paint and in transition. That matters to voters.
In other relevant stats, Giannis is fourth in the league in DREB, ninth in total REB, and 15th in blocks. He's also averaging a double-double. Harden is fourth in the league in assists and third in steals. He may be leading the league in total scoring, but he is not averaging a double-double. Harden is first in the league in TO, while Giannis is third. Oh, and I've been saving this bombshell for last: Giannis has the third highest defensive rating in the league at 99.4, and is tied for the lead league in defensive win shares. Harden isn't in the top-20 in either. That's not a big man-only stat either, as there are a few guards in that list, like Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo. In total WS, Giannis sits right ahead of Harden at 7.1 to 6.9, which puts them at third and fourth in the league. WS is a stat that considers your overall contribution to your team's victories, so it's saying that overall, Giannis is more important to his team. In WS/48 minutes, Giannis is second, while Harden is sixth. In Offensive Box Plus/Minus, Harden is league leader while Giannis is 11th, but Giannis is league leader in Defensive Box Plus/Minues, while Harden is out of the top-20.
So you can look at PPG and call it a day, but there are people looking at the entire stat line and impact on the game a lot harder and seeing that Giannis is just as important to his team's success as Harden.
As far as team records go, the Bucks have the second best record in the entire league, second only to a team that they have gone 2-1 in head-to-head matchups this season, and who have also played three more games than the Bucks, so that team (Raptors) claims the honor of best record in the league because it has had three more chances to get its percentage higher.
I will also inform you that the Bucks are the only team in the entire league that have not lost more than one game at a time, having suffered no losing streaks period. That includes two trips out West, playing the Raptors thrice, the Celtics twice, and most of the WC. Where Harden puts up his individual stat line is a seperate conversation from where his team is in the conference, which conference is superior, and how that effects standings. Many of those EC teams have bad records because the Bucks are one of a handful of teams that won't lose to them. Many of the WC teams have so-so records because the Bucks are one of a handful of teams that won't lose to them. Giannis is having a bigger impact on his team's breakaway success than Harden is on his team.
So is either the clear-cut MVP? Probably not, but let's pump our breaks on that kind of talk.