Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock disagree about whether James Harden deserves to be MVP

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Jim Jackson and Doug Gottlieb join Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock to debate whether LeBron James should win MVP over James Harden.

- Whitlock, doesn't this prove, unless you have sort of an anti-LeBron bias, LeBron's the better player having a better year.

- Why didn't you mention that stat at the very bottom, plus-minus? LeBron is 102nd in the league. I think James Harden is like 25th or somewhere.

- Well, considering LeBron didn't have a coach in the last month.

- These are the All-Star players' plus-minus. LeBron, 102nd, James Harden, 5th. You don't care about that state?

- No, here's what I care about.

- If this were Westbrook, you would care about that stat. Since it's LeBron, no.

- In every other sport, this is a fact, we talk about totals. In baseball, you win an MVP because you hit the most home runs, and had the most RBIs. In the NFL, you had the most touchdowns. In hockey, you've got the most goals and the most assists.

In the NBA, it's all about average. Did you average this, did you average that? If you just went to totals with LeBron and James Harden, who's got the most this, this, this, this, this, put up the graphic, it ain't close. The only thing Harden has more of is wins, and he should, he's got a better team.

- Why are they playing a game? Do I need Herm Edwards in here? Do I got to bring Herm Edwards? Wins matter. It's always matter as it related to MVP. That is great that LeBron equaled the total from last year's underachieving regular season team in Cleveland. They did it again, that's great.

James Harden's leading the best team in basketball.

- Kyrie left, Cavs have the same number of wins. If Chris Paul left, do you think Houston would be the same team next year?

- No, you've made a great point.

- How about this, on that plus-minus list, take all those guys and say, let's put them on Cleveland's current team. Would they win 50 games? If you took one of those guys and just put them in LeBron's place, could they get that Cleveland team to 50 wins?

- Probably not. I mean, maybe.

- So that's what I'm saying. So sometimes the numbers-- you can't just look and say here's the numbers and this is what it is. His impact on the game is just-- there's no other player like a Magic Johnson that could do it. But, in regards to impacting the game, sometimes the numbers are dictated by who's on the court, too. I mean, he doesn't have the best supporting cast, he hasn't the most stable supporting cast.

- You didn't even get to the coaching situation with Ty Lue.

- That's what I'm saying, there's so many more factors.

- Kevin Love missed 20 games. Kyrie Irving, he's a top 10 player, you just take him off replace him with a bunch of jibronies, it doesn't matter. 51 wins right now headed into the final game.

Whitlock, you also forget about this. Last year you love to talk about Russell Westbrook's triple-doubles. Oh, Russ has got triple-doubles out the wazzoo. What did LeBron do this year? Comes out, gets a career high 22 triple-doubles this season. Hasn't missed a game, what does he have to do for you to love him? Tell me.

- Well, first of all, I do love LeBron James. No, no, no, I do. I don't worship anybody. And so, now I will say this, your Kyrie Irving point just blew me out of the water. I mean, that's a hell of a point, and you probably have flipped me a little bit here. I'm scrambling a little bit. That was a hell of a body blow followed by an uppercut to the head. And so, it's tough for me-- you blew me away.

Kyrie Irving leaving that team, they've got the same number of wins.

- He didn't even need to mention Mike D'Antoni, Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash. This is what D'Antoni's offenses do.

- There was a point in the last two years where I've said this, and you've said this-- Kyrie Irving is the best finisher in the game. Left or right hand. And there are arguments we made that Kyrie is the best small finisher in our lives. He leaves. Rodney Hood comes in, George Hill.

Yeah, I won 51 games again. Come on, now, that's incredible.

- It's really incredible. It may be unprecedented and we haven't really talked about that. Show me a great player, like Kevin McHale leaving Larry Bird, or Kareem disappearing, leaving Magic, or Scottie Pippen leaving Michael Jordan. It really is unprecedented what he did. You've completely flipped me, and James Harden's had a tremendous season.

We saw, again I think to MacIntyre's point, we saw Steve Nash have great seasons under Mike D'Antoni and win MVP trophies that probably should have gone to Shaq. We could be making that mistake all over again here with LeBron James.

- And I don't want to discount what Harden has done, because I think you got to really appreciate where he's come from and to where he's at. The ability for him, now, to accept being able to make plays and not be about himself, so to speak, in regards to really sharing the basketball. Again, he made players around him better before Chris Paul got there. Now he get a little bit more help.

But, when you look at the totality of what LeBron brings to the table, they're just two different kind of players. Harden is going to be who he is no matter what. At the end of the day, he's a scorer first and learned and understood that I need to get some guys involved. LeBron is this-- I don't know just, anomaly of-- of a beast that says from the day he was born, basketball was going to be it. But then he got taught how to play the game a little bit differently.

You know in the Midwest, we defend, we rebound, we play defense, we pass the basketball, we do all these little things. He took that to heart. So he's the best thing going. He's the best player. Don't discount Harden. But, when you put it in totality, he's the most valuable player.

- You mention his age, Jim, how old is LeBron? I forgot.

- 800.

- He's 800. Career high in rebounds, assists at 33 years old. This is unprecedented.

- What about LeBron fatigue? Meryl Streep keeps getting nominated, but she's not winning a lot. There's a sense that, OK, you've won yours, it's time for other people.

- I think, to your point there, though, and this is where you guys perhaps disagree with me-- Lebron's created some of this fatigue. If LeBron-- again, all season has talked about LeBron. He's acting as if he's the host of the Herd and that you're the basketball player. And he's-- let me tell you all what y'all should be talking about today, how great I am.

If LeBron-- again, he created that fatigue with his arrogance and narcissism. If he had backed off a little bit and let us drive the narrative around him, I think he'd be in a better position to win the MVP.

- So it should be an award subjective or objective? What are you saying?

- No, no it should be objective. But we got to deal with the reality of humans. We're all human beings.

- OK, so what was the fatigue with Michael Jordan, then?

- Michael, there was.

- Yeah, it was. Karl Malone got it and Charles Barkley, there's no way. It should have been Michael Jordan. He should have got eight.

- That's a fair point.

- You see what I'm saying?

- Based on this scenario, I think Charles Barkley has had a better case for winning the MVP than Harden has right now.

- I totally agree.

- A better case, but should he have won it over Mike?

- Was Charles Barkley's coach, like D'Antoni, this magic elixir. Makes every-- Chris Duhon, Jeremy Lin.


- He wasn't playing with bums at Phoenix. No, no, no, when he played with Kevin Jackson, Dan Majerle, that was a whole different-- he didn't go in there with chopped liver, and ended up making a great steak dinner.

- But let me tell you something, when Barkley went to Phoenix, they were scoring 114 a night when nobody scored that. They were the talk of the league. They were literally Chip Kelly at Oregon. We've never seen anything like it.

- Whitlock, do you think part of this is LeBron's talking himself up because guess what happened in the finals. Kevin Durant was, suddenly, the best player on the planet, and Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double, and LeBron was kind of edged out of the conversation. Maybe this is his way of saying, don't forget about me, I didn't go anywhere.

- Again, I think Lebron's work on the court would have spoke volumes. He didn't need to amplify that with his own mouth, I think it turned some people off.