James Harden is Our NBA MVP at the All-Star Break

With the NBA entering its annual All-Star break, we surveyed the league to bestow the Association's six most prestigious honors on the worthy candidates.

NBA All Star Break 2017 Superlatives
Image via Complex Original

NBA All-Star Break 2017 Superlatives

NBA All Star Break 2017 Superlatives

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.

MVP — James Harden

James Harden MVP All Star Break 2017

Rookie of the Year — Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid All Star Break 2017

Joel Embiid was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers on June 26, 2014. If that seems like it was a long time ago, that’s probably because it was. Barack Obama was still the president, and Donald J. Trump was still nearly a year away from announcing his candidacy. The only category Stephen Curry led the league in was turnovers, and he’d yet to win a single MVP. The process was not yet trusted. So by the time Embiid made his NBA debut on October 26, 2016, having missed two full seasons, expectations were sky high. Embiid played 22 minutes, scored 20 points, hit a three, grabbed seven rebounds, and blocked two shots in a six-point loss to the Thunder. Expectations met. Despite a minutes restriction and being held out of back-to-backs—and a knee injury that’s sidelined him since January 27th—Embiid has shown himself to be worth the wait, and by far the league’s best rookie. He had his first double double in his third game, 25 points in his sixth. He scored a season-high 33 points along with 10 rebounds against the Nets in December, and 32 points against the Rockets in January. In between, Embiid had 10 straight games of 20-plus points, all while averaging just over 25 minutes a night. It wasn’t enough for the 22-year old to make the All-Star team, but it’s more than enough for him to be the rookie of the year. Finally. (Hi, Rihanna.) —Russ Bengtson


Defensive Player of the Year — Draymond Green

Draymond Green All Star Break 2017

Sixth Man of the Year — Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph All Star Break 2017

Most Improved Player — Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas All Star Break 2017

Coach of the Year — Mike D'Antoni

Mike D'Antoni All Star Break 2017

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