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Will perennial runner-up James Harden finally bag the NBA MVP?

17 May 2018

The NBA announced the finalists for Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday - and Draymond Green's name was nowhere to be found.

The Rockets' Eric Gordon - the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year - was again named a finalist for the award.

As a finalist for the 2018 NBA Defensive MVP, Embiid, who averaged 11 rebounds and a 3.6 Real Plus-Minus rating will be facing off against fellow defensive anchors Rudy Gobert (5.15) and Anthony Davis (3.8) for the title best defender in the league.

He averaged 27.5 points - the most for him since the 2009-10 season - along with 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists and played in all 82 games of the regular season.

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However, James is also a likely candidate as despite the Cleveland Cavaliers finishing the regular season as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Akron native enjoyed one of his finest individual seasons.

Simmons averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists this season.

The Sixers' point guard also said he would like to win the award for teammates Embiid and Dario Saric, who lost to Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon last season (see story).

"I would vote for me", James said in March.

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Harden led the National Basketball Association in scoring at 30.4 points per game, while guiding the Rockets to a franchise-best 65 wins.

The results will be announced June 25 during a televised show in Los Angeles. Embiid trailed Davis in both categories and trailed Gobert in blocks per game and defensive real plus minus, which Gobert was the leader in.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons and Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell are finalists for the NBA Rookie of the Year award.

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Will perennial runner-up James Harden finally bag the NBA MVP?