James Harden named NBA's Most Valuable Player

Harden is first Rocket to win the award since Olajuwon in 1994

(Getty Images)

SANTA MONICA, CA – After leading the league in scoring and guiding his team to an NBA-best 65 wins during the regular season, Houston Rockets guard James Harden has been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the 2017-18 season.

It's Harden's first career MVP award after finishing as runner-up in 2015 and 2017.

Harden is just the third Rocket to win MVP, joining Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994 and Moses Malone in 1979 and 1982.

"The Beard" led all scorers with 30.4 points per game this past season, and finished third in assists (8.8 per game). Harden also posted the highest Player Efficiency Rating in the league this year at 29.87 (15.0 is considered an average PER).

The Rockets went a franchise-best 65-17 this past season and made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Houston held a 3-2 series lead over the eventual world champion Golden State Warriors before losing All-Star point guard Chris Paul to injury for games six and seven.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was named the NBA's Executive of the Year.

Two other Rockets were finalists for postseason awards.

Guard Eric Gordon lost Sixth Man of the Year honors to his former Houston teammate Lou Williams (now with the L.A. Clippers), while center Clint Capela lost Most Improved Player to Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.