It is a dubious honor, indeed. Hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, the “Inside the NBA” segment spotlights moments that NBA players would rather forget. However, Harden more than earned the nod with a series of plays that indicated an impressively indifferent attitude toward defense.
Jeff Teague showed his knowledge of “Shaqtin’ a Fool” history when he said, “At least it’s not JaVale McGee, finally, right?” McGee’s penchant for brain cramps earned him the first two MVP awards, in 2012 and 2013, giving the Wizards two winners, with Otto Porter coming out on top (bottom?) last year. In 2014, the MVP award went to Kendrick Perkins.
This marks the first time that O’Neal has given the “Shaqtin’ a Fool” MVP award to a genuine NBA star. In fairness to Harden, he played well in other facets of the game, notching career highs in scoring (29.0 points per game) and assists (7.5), while coming in eighth in the NBA with a 25.3 player efficiency rating (per Basketball Reference).
However, his candidacy for “Shaqtin'” honors was signaled in February, when he accounted for two of the five lowlights in O’Neal’s “Worst Play by an All-Star” collection. Combine this latest development with the Rockets’ first-round playoff ouster (by the Warriors) and his apparent breakup with Khloe Kardashian (okay, maybe not the worst news), and it’s been a tough stretch for Harden. Good thing he has that $200 million deal with Adidas on which to fall back.