Joel Embiid of course surged up the list after his 47-point obliteration of the Denver Nuggets. Joel surpassed Boston Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum to take second place behind Nikola Jokic seven days ago. And Embiid has held steady there.
https://t.co/wWGNmWnCY9’s updated MVP Ladder:— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) February 3, 2023
1. Nikola Jokic
2. Joel Embiid
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
4. Jayson Tatum
5. Luka Doncic
6. Kevin Durant
7. James Harden
8. Domantas Sabonis
9. Julius Randle
10. Ja Morant
James Harden ranked eighth a week ago and today moves up to seventh on the list. He passes Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant.
This update, maddeningly, comes just hours after we learned Harden was not voted as an All-Star...not even as a reserve. A few Sixers had James’ back and reacted to this nonsense on social media.
So. for starters, Mr. Joel “Second in the MVP race for the third-year-in-a-row, leading the league in scoring,” Embiid misses on the starting team but gets one reserve spot.
And Mr. James “former MVP, three-time scoring champ, seventh in our MVP ladder, averaging 21 points, and a league-leading 11 dimes per game” Harden couldn’t make it over these names:
- Jaylen Brown (who actually does make the MVP ladder’s “alphabetically listed 11-15.” I’d argue Harden probably has a better case over Brown. Despite Boston possessing the best record in the league, Brown is not the total play-making engine driving machine Harden (on pace to lead the NBA in assists for the second time in his career) is in Philadelphia. And the Sixers are only three games back.
- Bam Adebayo (worthy)
- Tyrese Haliburton (worthy, sorry Wally Szczerbiak)
- Jrue Holiday (Holiday would’t have made my personal list, certainly not over James, and I always root against the Bucks, but he’s not who makes me the most mad on this list).
- DeMar DeRozan (not worthy- does not appear anywhere on MVP Ladder for good reason as the Bulls are 24-27, and if we needed to look more closely at stars on losing teams Pascal Siakam is outplaying DeRozan anyway)
- Julius Randle (Harden gif face)
I guess either the voters didn’t like James, didn’t think he played enough games, or didn’t pay much attention to their ballot because they were busy focusing on their next game.
Just so people know, a lot of coaches do not care about picking the all-star reserves. I've been in coaches meetings where they spent five minutes putting their selections in.— Mo Dakhil (@MoDakhil_NBA) February 3, 2023
Think about it, they are more locked in on their team and their upcoming opponents. It is what it is.
As noted, Harden famously won NBA MVP back in 2018. That was also one of three consecutive seasons The Beard won the NBA scoring title. Harden was also famously snubbed by MVP voters in 2016-2017, who apparently enjoyed the elegance of Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double more than Harden’s leading the league in points per game, assists per game, and finishing 1.9 boards per game away from a triple double, all while his team finished as a three seed to OKC’s sixth seed. You’d think eight more wins and home court advantage would be more impressive than the extra two boards but... by the first round, James reminded everyone of their slip up when Houston defeated OKC 4-1.
Some might argue Harden deserved more MVP votes in 2019, when he lost to Giannis but we won’t quibble. All a long-winded way to say Harden is no stranger to blatant disrespect and this is just more.
The Sixers stars don’t get enough love and it’s pretty silly. The good news is that so many of us were terrified that James was going to enjoy the nightlife out in Salt Lake City where ASB is being held way too much. He probably would have been in those bars until closing time around 7 p.m., Mountain Time. Just kidding, but it is super close to Vegas which is probably where he would have been headed.
They really hate the Process don’t they? I mean, I follow Knicks Twitter. Even many of them still wouldn’t mind dumping Julius Randle to clear cap space and pave the way for the young core! And DeRozan!?!? If Jaylen Brown’s argument is “but they’re winning” than why didn’t that help Harden?! DeRozan doesn’t even produce more points for his losing team when you factor in playmaking than Harden does for the fourth-best team in the entire NBA.
The Sixers have the fourth-best record in the league, two of the top seven MVP candidates, but zero starting All-Stars in their conference, and only one All-Star total. What’s that old W.C. Fields joke on his grave stone? I’d rather be here than vote for an All-Star in Philadelphia or something?