McHale proud of Harden after this season
LeBron James won the 2013 NBA MVP award to the surprise of ... no one.
But James Harden found himself among the top 10 vote-getters this season. Harden finished with seven fourth-place votes and 12 fifth-place votes, good for eighth place overall.
Harden, after being traded to the Rockets shortly before the season, had a great year in his first season as a starter and face of a franchise.
Harden also helped lead the Rockets into the playoffs, where they took two games from the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It was a good year for me,” Harden said after the Rockets' Game 6 loss on Friday night. “Not the way I wanted to finish but now I get some time to really work on my game.”
But Harden is already in elite company. He averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game in 2012-13.
Harden was one of just three players this season to average over 25 points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal. The other two were James and Kobe Bryant.
The only players between Harden (eighth) and James (first) in MVP voting were Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, in that order. Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade rounded out the top 10 after Harden.
Harden went from being a key player off the bench for the Thunder to being the go-to man and the face of the franchise. It's a transition that impressed head coach Kevin McHale
"James had a helluva year," McHale said. "I don't think everybody understands how hard it is when every defense is set up to stop you and putting their top defender on you every single night."