Skip Bayless unveils why Houston’s James Harden will triumph over LeBron for the 2018 NBA MVP

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In his conversation with Shannon Sharpe, Stephen Jackson and Joy Taylor, Skip Bayless makes his pick for the 2018 NBA MVP, detailing why LeBron James will fall behind Houston's James Harden in voting.

- If you don't mind me asking, who plays, LeBron or James Harden?

- Neither.

- Thank you for bringing that up.

- Yeah.

- In defensive win shares, right now James Harden ranks 35th in the league, which is pretty high. 35.

SHANNON SHARPE: You know that's a [INAUDIBLE]

- He does cause he's a career high in steals, 1.8, almost two steals a game from James Harden. LeBron James has now plummeted to 346th in individual defensive play.

SHANNON SHARPE: He only dropped two spots last night after that performance?

- Yeah. 346th.

[LAUGHTER]

STEPHEN JACKSON: He always been good at blocking shots. On ball defending, neither one of them good.

- So check this out. In plus minus for the year, James Harden is plus 518, which is just off the charts, as is Houston's record.

SHANNON SHARPE: [INAUDIBLE] off of 14 games. What you expect him to be?

STEPHEN JACKSON: That's why he's MVP.

- Plus 518.

SHANNON SHARPE: What's LeBron?

- LeBron for the whole year is plus nine. Plus nine?

SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah.

- That's like a 500 rating. That's like, well, what you are is you're 44 and 30, and you're only a half game ahead of the Sixers and the Pacers in the third slot. So you could fall to the fifth slot tonight. He could.

- I bet they'll-- oh, man, I sure hope I get the Cavaliers in the first round. Who's saying that, Skip?

- Hmm. I don't know.

SHANNON SHARPE: Who you think's saying that? Oh, I want LeBron James in my building round one.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Cleveland don't want the Bucks first round, either.

- Yeah, they do. Yeah, they do. The Bucks ain't doing that.

- Well, yeah. Actually, I think, didn't Jason Terry say that?

- Hold on. They just beat the Bucks four times this year.

- Yeah.

- They four and one. I hope we get the Bucks. I guarantee Emile.

SKIP BAYLESS: All right.

- The hotel vacuum. They get all that go. One time, [INAUDIBLE] one time over.

- The man who is promoting himself for MVP is second worst in the NBA in turnovers, and a career worst, 314 turnovers. And he has the fifth worst free throw percentage of his career. He's only 73% from the free throw line. This man can shoot. He knows that you just--

STEPHEN JACKSON: If he can get free throws, he's gotta make his free throws.

- He's gotta make his free throws. What are we down to? Like, six games left? You lost your bet. You bet me a whole case of Diet Mountain Dew he's be 80 plus.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Oh, that was a bad bet.

- Yeah. I mean, he going to finish over 75%. He going to get him a hot--

- Well that-- you're going to lose the bet anyway.

- But that's OK. You going to beat on 75.

- The turnover part I don't really trip on. Because if you look at the turnovers every year, the top five players are always at the top of the turnover thing.

SHANNON SHARPE: And look at what he's trying-- look at the passes he's trying to make. Cause when he doing these no looks and he's skipping the ball across court, and he's going between guy's legs. So he tries things. And that's what good--

STEPHEN JACKSON: He has to, though. He has to.

- Yeah, yeah. But don't worry about that. He should be the MVP.

- So the team LeBron leads has now fallen into a tie for 28. So it's second to last in overall defense. That's not very good, man.

SHANNON SHARPE: No. They're not a very good defensive team, Skip.

- Is it ironic that he's having the best year that he's probably ever had, and he has the worst team? Like, is it possible that he just approaching this season to pad his stats?

- No. I mean--

- Is that possible?

- No. He's had worse teams. Do you remember his first go round in Cleveland? Did you see some of those teams? Who played against him?

- Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was pretty bad.

- Yeah. Really bad. Real bad. Real.

SKIP BAYLESS: And he won how many championships?

SHANNON SHARPE: The real fact he got them there. The man got a team to the NBA finals at 22. The next guy that takes his team to the NBA finals at 22.

- Wait. He lost to Broccoli. How did he lose to Broccoli? He got swept by Broccoli in the finals.

- With three Hall of Famers on the roster.

- Three Hall of Famers you have no respect for. You got a little respect for Tim Duncan.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Whoa, whoa Skip. He don't respect Tim Duncan?

SKIP BAYLESS: He's got no respect.

- Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But they're Hall of Famers. Three Hall of Famers.

SKIP BAYLESS: Oh, now they are. They are for the sake of this conversation.

- No, they were-- hold on. Wait. Oh, so they weren't before?

- Well, I don't think you would put them in your Hall of Fame.

- Yeah. Yeah.

SKIP BAYLESS: Manu Ginobili, you laugh at him.

SHANNON SHARPE: The man was 22 years old. So the next 22-year-old that leads a team to the NBA finals, y'all let me know. And his name ain't Magic.

- He'd been playing for four years in this league. He's a veteran.

- Oh, look. So there are no other guys that's been playing for four years? Jayson Tatum's going to be four years.

- Uh-uh.

- Yeah.

- Jayson Tatum's a rookie.

- Now, I'm saying, in four years, he'll be-- what, he's 19 now?

- Yeah.

- Yeah. So he'll be 23. So go on, go up, take them Celtics.

SKIP BAYLESS: Well, he might be in the finals this year for all you know.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Yeah.

- Well, he just might.

- Cleveland might not.

- Yeah. Hey.

- I'm just saying.

- Hold up.

- This is the first year I'll ever say that.

SHANNON SHARPE: [INAUDIBLE] the stack. You were supposed to wait for me in my dressing room. You weren't supposed to start before I got there. He was gonna start it before I got there. You know what I'm saying, Joy. That's what I'm talking about. I shouldn't have told him where the merchandise was. He know what's in the bag before he come out here and talk about it. He's gonna talk about Jayson Tatum's going to lead the Celtics.

- Well, I got news for your man LeBron James.

SHANNON SHARPE: What is it?

- James Harden has run away and hidden from the MVP.

SHANNON SHARPE: No, he didn't run away.

STEPHEN JACKSON: They gave him the award. It's at his house already.

SKIP BAYLESS: It's just over. Why would you try to make this late week lame case for yourself?

SHANNON SHARPE: We ain't making no case. We just doing what we do. We just playing basketball. Yeah, yeah. That's all.

STEPHEN JACKSON: He didn't win the MVP a couple times, excuse me Skip. He didn't win MVP a couple times when they had great records.

- Yeah, I know.

- For sure ain't going to win it this year.

- Yeah. Cause they gave it to Steph Curry, averaging 20 points one year. They should have gave it to LeBron his first year back in Cleveland, but they were mad at him. They should have gave it to him when they gave it to D Rose. Cause you remember what he did to D Rose--

JOY TAYLOR: Who was mad at LeBron for going back to Cleveland?

- They were mad at him.

- Who?

- Because. Everybody.

- Nobody was mad.

- Nobody was mad.

- Everybody was mad.

- Miami was mad. That's about it.

- Were those voters? Just like he should have been that unanimous MVP, and writer gave it to Carmelo. Now, say he shouldn't have been unanimous.

STEPHEN JACKSON: Well, I ain't going to say that. But he should have got Defensive Player when they gave it to Marc Gasol.

SHANNON SHARPE: OK. Now tell the truth.

- Then he would be right there with Mike if he had that.

- Yeah. But they didn't want him to be there right there with Mike, so they short changed him.

SKIP BAYLESS: Oh, they did it?

- They did.

- Who is they?

SHANNON SHARPE: You know. The writers. That's why I told him not to do the dunk contest, because they wanted to compare him to Mike. I say, don't do it, Bron.

SKIP BAYLESS: Don't do it?

- Nope.

SKIP BAYLESS: Oh, so you were the one?

- Yep.

- You're the reason he didn't do the dunk contest.

- Even when Magic said, I get you Emile. Said, no. We can make more money by just sitting there chillin'.

SKIP BAYLESS: So he took Nurkic's life and never did a dunk contest. He never did a dunk contest.

- Got Joe Harris, too, while I'm saying.

- Got Joe Harris.

- Oh, he body bag him.

- But never a dunk contest.

- OK. Jason Terry.

- And got blocked by Wade twice last night.

- Kelly Olynyk.

- Stephen, thanks for joining us.