Make no bones about it: Paul George has been tearing through the NBA this year.
After a slightly underwhelming first season in Oklahoma City last year, George has come back with a vengeance, guiding the Thunder to a 38-20 record thus far. George has also torched the league as an individual player, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and assists per game.
As such, George
MVP candidate Paul George put up 45 PTS (17-31 FG, 6-6 FT), 9 REB, 7 AST, 5 3PT, 1 windmill in OT & 1 GW in 2OT!— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 23, 2019
He just. Delivers. Every. Time.
While Harden is certainly playing at a top level himself, leading the league in points per game with an incredible 36.5, George is simply having a better overall season. He has shown himself to not only be a dominant scorer, as he is just behind Harden as the second-leading scorer in the league, but he also leads the league in steals per game with 2.26.
Harden has shown himself to be the best scorer in the league this year, but it is George who's accomplished the most offensively and defensively. Also, not for nothing, but Harden's absurd season has consisted of taking over the Rockets all by himself, propelling them back into relevance. George's challenge is somehow managing to lead OKC in crunch time, while also massaging the ego and effectiveness of Russell Westbrook. In order for the Thunder to prosper, George has to be taking the most important shots, while also convincing Westbrook to do his part in major stretches throughout the rest of the game. That's a tough negotiation, but he's pulling it off.
Considering the MVP goes to the most valuable player, George's overall dominance should be valued over offensive success alone.
I don’t know what more Paul George can do to earn MVP votes. Out of this world performance vs. the Jazz.— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) February 23, 2019
With two months left in the NBA's regular season, there is still time for Harden to edge out George or for a new contender to emerge. However, as of now, considering the level of overall performance that George has shown on the court, there is no doubt that he deserves to take home the MVP award.