You try picking the NBA MVP this year. It ain't easy. 

As the Association hits its annual All-Star break, we're taking a step back and surveying the league to determine who deserves to be blessed with some hardware—like Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Sixth Man of the Year, to name a few. And truth be told, handing out those awards is pretty easy. 

But who deserves MVP honors? You can easily make the case for LeBron James, who is leading the top team in the Eastern Conference despite the Cavs racking up more surgeries than the Nets have wins. You can make the case for Russell Westbrook, who, you know, is only averaging a triple-double. No big deal. You can make the case for Westbrook's former boy Kevin Durant out in Golden State who has clearly been the Warriors' best player on the league's best team. You can make one for Mr. Fourth Quarter, the Celtics' Isaiah Thomas. 

But at the (not really) halfway point of the season, we bestowed the prestigious honor on somebody else. He's a deft driver, a deadly shooter, and he's got one hell of a beard. As we enter the All-Star break, the Houston Rockets' dynamic point guard James Harden should be the 2016-17 NBA MVP. Now let us tell you why...

Illustrations by @adameast.