Offensive Player of the Year – (Scoring Champ)
Sauping R. Arguello: With only 35-37 games remaining for most teams, I believe the scoring title will be won by the current leader, James Harden (27.6 ppg). He has a 1.4 point per game lead over second place LeBron James (26.2 ppg). Houston relies on Harden carrying a large part of the offensive load on a nightly basis, while LeBron has been trying to incorporate the Cavs other two stars in Irving (20.9 ppg) and Love (17.5 ppg).
Russell Westbrook (24.7 ppg), who is currently in third place (because Durant’s number of games played does not qualify at this point), trails Harden by nearly three points per game but shares close to an equal scoring load with teammate, Kevin Durant (25.6 ppg). There’s just not enough games left in the season to see such a drastic change barring a massive scoring tirade by James, Durant or Westbrook and Harden hitting a scoring slump. Harden also leads the league in free-throw attempts per game (9.2) and we know that is a remedy for easy points when shooting a high percentage from the charity stripe like he does (88.7 percent).
Keith Rivas: My pick for the best offensive player of this NBA season is Anthony Davis. As it stands right now (according to ESPN), Davis is behind LeBron James and James Harden for the top overall spot as the best shooter in professional basketball. If you look at Davis’ situation in New Orleans compared to Harden’s or even James’, Davis has no question had to handle more than adversity that the latter–and that speaks volumes.
The new and improved Pelicans are pushing hard for a playoff spot out in the Western Conference (if they were in the East, I’m sure by now that the playoffs for them would be a lock), but if they are going to be anywhere anytime soon it is only going to be while riding the back of young Anthony Davis.
The roles that Harden and James play have less of a need for absolute dominance–in other words, they actually have a supporting cast. Look for Davis to continue to develop on and off the field as one of the best players we’ve seen this side of a millennium.
Bobby Bourhis: Harden is currently leading the league in points per game at 27.6, but LeBron James is close behind at 26.4. Harden is averaging over 9 free throw attempts per game and is shooting 88.7 percent from the line. His ability to get to the line on a regular basis, is one of the reasons that he is able to score on a consistent basis. Additionally, Harden is the number one option on a team that does not have a wide variety of scoring options.
Jeb Taylor: Unlike most other years, there is no clear-cut scoring champion this early on. There is no Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony scoring 30 points a game, leaving the door wide open for a myriad of candidates for this year’s scoring championship. But if I had to select one, it would be the current scoring leader, James Harden.
The Arizona State alumnus currently is scoring 27.6 ppg, a whole point more than LeBron James’ 26.2. I believe he will continue this reign on top due to LBJ’s history of coasting during this part of the grinding NBA season. Also, his high amount of free throws attempted and made allows him to always put up a respectable amount of points, regardless of his night from the floor. James Harden- and his beard- will be hoisting the metaphorical-scoring title at the end of this year.