Basketball: James Harden named NBA's Most Valuable Player

Houston Rockets point guard James Harden has been awarded the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the 2017-18 season ahead of LeBron Jones and Anthony Davis.

Harden joined NBA legend Michael Jordan as the only players to average at least 20 points, eight assists, five rebounds and 1.7 steals in a season.

The 28-year-old has finished runner-up twice but this time took the
top spot at Monday night's NBA Awards show in Santa Monica as he collected his award with his mum - Monja Willis.

"I'm not getting emotional, I'm not doing that, but she's my backbone," Harden said. "Good times, bad times...we only get one life and I'm happy she's my mum. I wouldn't have it any other way, for real."

Harden became the third player in Rockets history to be named MVP, joining two-time winner Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon.

He led the league in scoring last season when he averaged 30.4 points per game as he helped his team to an NBA-leading 65 wins.

He added 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game in leading the Rockets to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoff. They fell to eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors, in Game 7 of the finals.

Harden added: "Sixth Man of the Year to MVP. Shout out to all the youngins' man that got a dream and the vision out there to go take it. Go chase that dream. I'll see you all next year."

He won the former honour in 2012 when he was a member of Oklahoma City Thunder.

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year after the former No. 1 overall pick helped his team break their five-year playoff drought.

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was named Rookie of the Year

Simmons beat out Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.

"I'd like to thank my family, to start off with," Simmons said. "My family, friends, you know I wouldn't be here without them, and my teammates of course and my great coach [Brett Brown], and the city of Philadelphia for really embracing me."

Simmons was taken with the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but a broken foot sidelined him for the 2016-17 season.

The 6ft 10in guard averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals over 81 games last season and in the playoffs he averaged 16.3 points, 9.4 boards, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals.

Dwane Casey won the NBA's Coach of the Year for his work with his former team the Toronto Raptors. He was fired last month and has since become coach of the Detroit Pistons.

Casey led the Raptors to the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time in franchise history.

Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers took home the Six Man of the Year, becoming the Clippers' third winner in the last five years.

The Defensive Player was given to Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. He anchored a Jazz defence that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating.

Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers has won the Most Improved Player at the NBA Awards. The guard averaged 23.1 points in his first season with the Pacers. He earned his first All-Star berth, too.

One man who did not attend the event was LeBron James. He has until Friday to tell the Cleveland Cavaliers if he will pick up his $35.6 million option for next season or opt for free agency.

Rumours about his future have seen him linked with a move to the LA Lakers, the 76ers and the Rockets.




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