James Harden will not be playing an NBA game for two weeks after further evaluation due to a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Will this lay-off hurt his race to become an MVP contender and more importantly, will this affect his team, the Houston Rockets’ championship chase?
Harden’s injury happened during the Rockets’ last game of 2017 against the Lakers, albeit the Rockets exited the game with the win, they lost their star guard in the process.
Rockets To Win The NBA Finals?
Let’s start with some Bitcoin basketball odds. In the beginning of the season, the Rockets were given +2500 to win the NBA Championship. Now, this was revised to +475 odds. For context, they have the same odds as the Cavaliers to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy by June. Other than the Cavs, the Rockets remain behind the Warriors, who still leads the league to win the Finals in June with -175 odds. In hindsight, the Rockets are the second one team in the Western Conference with a 27-9 win-loss record. Similarly, the Warriors claimed the top spot in the West with a 29-8 record. Obviously, the Rockets improved their odds by a lot. But, can they make the cut while Harden sits out a few games for the meantime?
Nevertheless, there’s still good news for fans as the Rockets added Chris Paul to the evolutionary lineup, and the Point Guard found the mesh to play and share the ball with Harden. So, the Rocket still prevails with a pool of talented players such as Ariza, Anderson, Capela, and the perfect-timing-addition of Gerald Green–who in just 3 games and 20 minutes played has averaged 9 points and 1.7 rebounds.
In Harden’s first missed game this season, the Rockets played against the Magic. And the Rockets completely obliterated the Magic on the road without their star guard by 18 points. In which, Gerald Green led the team with 27 points and Chris Paul contributing 8 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds. Can the Rockets survive their stellar performance without Harden’s contributions?
Harden And His MVP Race
Harden holds the number one spot in the following statistics: PPG with a 32.3 average, 3-points made with 145, free throws made with 372, total points with 1132, and PER with 30.5. These are solid statistics that can easily bridge the gap between Harden and the MVP title. However, if the season ends–or even shortens–other contenders such as LeBron James might take the lead as his statistics continue to go up.
Before Harden’s injury, he improved his odds as an MVP candidate this season with +115 from +1200 at the beginning of the season. So, missing game time alone can easily affect his chances of becoming this NBA season’s MVP. Moreover, if he misses an entire month, that’s a total of 14 games. The only NBA player to win an MVP title with no more than 60 games played was Bill Walton during the 1966-78 season, and this is a tough match for the Houston Rockets player. It is also worth taking into account that this season’s contenders are bigger than ever and are putting up great numbers. Hence, if you’re thinking of putting bets on Harden winning the MVP title race, you might want to consider looking at other Bitcoin odds in the meantime.
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