James Harden is the clear frontrunner to take home the MVP award this season after he led the Houston Rockets to the best record in the West (and all the NBA, for what it’s worth) with stellar performances all season long.
Harden is playing the best basketball of his career and is looking to prove all of his doubters wrong, trying not to choke in the playoffs to take the Rockets once again to the title, something they haven’t been able to do for a very long time.
Nonetheless, even if they strike out of the goal this season, what they’ve done so far is extremely remarkable, and they’re looking like the team to beat since day one. Still, all good things can be even better, and with the major free agency period we’re about to face next summer, let’s go ahead and talk about the top 3 superstars that could play next to Harden next season.
Note: for this to happen, they’re going to have to trade PJ Tucker and Ryan Anderson to clear some cap space.
3. Chris Paul
Well, Chris Paul has already played with Harden this season and it’s pretty safe to say that this experiment has paid off big time, as the Harden, Paul, Capela trio has only lost 4 games while taking the Win 46 matchups, looking as dominant in the offensive end of the floor as they’ve done on defense.
We definitely expect CP3 to take a pay cut next season in order to either finally make an NBA Finals run or to win back to back titles, settling for something of the likes of 15 million dollars per year to lead the Rockets backcourt next to the Beard.
2. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins suffered a terrible season-ending Achilles injury right after the All-Star break this season, just when he was finally focused on leading a team to the playoffs with some monster performances in both ends of the hardwood and proving that he had what it takes to be a franchise player; getting teammates involved and even playing hardnosed defense.
Cousins will miss a significant portion of the upcoming campaign, but he’s still a lock to have a lot of offers on the table during the summer. For him to play at Houston, he would have to take a pay cut as well and settle for something like 20 million per year, way less than he could get elsewhere, but having a major chance at the Championship.
1. Paul George
Paul George is quite unlikely to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder during the summer following this season’s fiasco, and even though he left on a very low note after completely disappearing during game 6 vs the Jazz, he was by far the best and most consistent player for them in both ends of the hardwood all season long.
George is a franchise talent, has grown to be a lockdown defender and is a deadly scorer, although adding another choker to a lineup that includes Harden and Paul may not be a good idea come playoff time. Also, he would have to take around 20 million a year in order to make this work; but the Paul, Harden, George, Cousins, Capela starting 5 is something out of NBA 2K and a very scary lineup if you ask us.