James Harden named finalist for 2018 NBA MVP

Grant SmithMay 17, 2018

That's right, after months of whispers, think pieces and lowkey campaigning, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been named finalists for a pair of most valuable player awards and could bring home some postseason hardware for the first time in nearly half a decade. The second annual NBA Awards will take place at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif.

The most valuable player, sixth man, most improved player and coach of the year awards will also be named that night.

Davis' competition for Defensive Player of the Year: Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. Before he declared last week his new goal of winning MVP, Embiid had his sights set on this award.

"I still feel like I've been the best defensive player in the league this year", Embiid said in April (see story).

Rookie of the Year Simmons is in a highly-anticipated race against Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. He was named to the All-Star team in February for the third straight season.

The standout award is, of course, the MVP honor and the trio of James, Harden and Davis has separated themselves from the rest of the pack with their performances in the regular season.

Harden is considered a near-lock to win his first MVP award, after finishing as runner-up in 2015 and 2017.

"It would mean a lot, but at the same time I don't really judge my success on one accolade", Simmons said recently.

The votes for the regular-season awards were submitted by the media in April.

The winners will be announced when the National Basketball Association hosts its annual awards show at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California on June 25.

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