<
>
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

James Harden adds a fascinating wrinkle to this tight NBA MVP race

play
How James Harden is putting together an MVP campaign in Brooklyn (1:14)

Since being traded to the Nets, James Harden is putting up MVP-like numbers that have everyone's attention. (1:14)

As we cross the halfway point of the NBA season, we are set up for what should be the most raucous and divisive MVP race since Russell Westbrook's win in 2017 -- and one of the most unusual in NBA history.

A lot of voters -- this one included, as I have an official ballot -- try to compartmentalize by considering only the discrete 82 games (or now 72) of each season. We give the award every season; it is for that specific season. What happened last season shouldn't factor in. What might happen in the playoffs is irrelevant.