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Paul Pierce Releases His Top 5 Players For NBA MVP

James Harden on the court for the Brooklyn Nets during an NBA game.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the first half against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center on January 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

This year's NBA MVP race is as interesting as we've had in a long time. Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden has been spectacular since his trade from the Houston Rockets, but hasn't been a super popular name for MVP. He has the support of Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce.

There were real legitimate questions about how Harden would fit in alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, after being so ball-dominant with the Rockets. The three have only played a handful of games together, but it has looked very potent. Even with just Harden and Kyrie playing in the last few weeks, as Durant nurses a hamstring issue, the Nets are steamrolling teams.

Kyrie revealed that he made something of an executive decision in deciding that Harden is the team's true point guard, and both have thrived during the team's current seven game winning streak. Harden is averaging 25.2 points, 11.6 assists, and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 49.5/41.7/86.4 in 19 games as a Net.

Pierce thinks James Harden is a legitimate MVP contender, and currently has him at No. 1 in his rankings, ahead of other major candidates like Joel Embiid and LeBron James.

NBA.com's latest "NBA MVP Ladder" rankings have LeBron James in the lead, with Embiid at No. 2, and Harden all the way at No. 10, behind his teammate Durant. Assuming KD comes back and returns to the impressive form that he had earlier this year, it may be hard for any one Brooklyn Nets star to gain enough traction to beat out LeBron, who has a ton of support after his recent near-misses with the MVP.

LeBron last won the award in 2013, the fourth of his career. Harden won his first and only MVP to date in 2018 with the Rockets.

The Nets host the Orlando Magic on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. It will be the James Harden and Kyrie Irving show once again, as the team has already announced that Durant will be out once again.

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MVP rankings as of today 1 Harden 2 embiid 3 bron 4 mitchell 5 kawhi

— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) February 24, 2021

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