Harden becomes the third Rocket to win the award and the first since Hakeem Olajuwon. He was considered one of the top-two players nominated for the award following last season, where he finished runner-up to Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook.
"The last four years have been like knocking on the door, knocking on the door," Harden said. "Now the moment is finally here. Just every single year, you try to come back and be better than you were the year before, and just to be holding that trophy finally, it means a lot.
Harden won the award over Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. Both James and Davis carried their respective teams, with Davis emerging following the season-ending injury to teammate DeMarcus Cousins.
Harden, however, led the Rockets to the league’s best record. Houston won 65 games and finished as the No. 1 seed in a hotly-contested Western Conference. They nearly went to the NBA Finals before losing in seven games to the Golden State Warriors.
Harden averaged 30.4 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 5.4 RPG to lead the Rockets, who figure to be one of the top three teams heading into the 2018-19 season.
During the NBA Awards, general manager Daryl More–who has put Harden in a position to reach peak success–was honored with the Executive of the Year Award.
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