So many candidates and we're nearing halfway to the season. Some names to throw out there:
All of these guys have a good case, but I think going from sixth man to being in the MVP race really has to give Harden the edge. He has handled the jump from 3rd option to carrying a team as "the man" with ease and the Rockets are doing much better than anyone realistically thought they were going to do. Lets face it, the Rockets 2nd best player is a jack of all trades 2nd round pick who is probably overachieving a little because of all the attention Harden is drawing from defenses.
I want to say Ibaka deserves to be in the conversation, but the scoring increase may just be a byproduct of having to step up and fill some of the void left by Harden. But he's gone from 9 PPG to 14.5 PPG this year and is a much better all-around defender. He's probably averaging around 15-16 PPG, 10 RPG, 3 BPG the last 10 games or so. Also scoring mucho the efficiently, going from 53% FG to 57% FG, and 66% FT to 79% FT.