James Harden Makes Bold MVP Prediction the Day Before Facing Warriors

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday night at 6 p.m. PT streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Nobody is playing better basketball right now than James Harden.

Over the Rockets' last 10 games, the reigning MVP is averaging 40.8 points, 8.9 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals, while shooting over 41 percent from deep (and 43.8 percent overall).

Speaking of MVP -- does he have his eyes set on back-to-back trophies?

"I need it. I need it for sure. And I'm going to get it," Harden said to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. "Individually, I got to bring it every night and make sure the guys around me in that locker room are on the same level.

"It's a great feeling. Individually, I got to make sure I'm on my A game every night, and that's not just scoring. That's being a leader every night. That's making sure I'm communicating with my guys and we're putting ourselves in positions to win games."

The Rockets are winning games, as they are 9-1 during Harden's incredible 10-game stretch. And it's even more impressive when you consider Chris Paul missed the last five games because of a hamstring strain. 

The MVP chase is wide open this year and Harden has as good a shot as anybody. You got to respect the fact that he's willing to make bold statements because it puts pressure on him to continue to deliver on a nightly basis. It's similar to Draymond Green saying he's going to win Defensive Player of the Year or that he's going to "start lighting their a** up."

When you're that good, you got to manufacture some motivation. And you would think Draymond and the Warriors will be motivated to slow down Harden on Thursday night at Oracle Arena...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

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