Harden, James, Anthony Davis named MVP finalists

Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis were named finalists for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, the league announced Wednesday.

The winner will be announced during the awards show on June 25, four days after the NBA draft.

Harden, who finished second in last year's voting behind Russell Westbrook, and Davis are looking to win the award for the first time. Harden also finished second in 2014-15 behind Stephen Curry, three spots ahead of Davis.

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Harden, 28, averaged a career-high and league-leading 30.4 points per game. He also contributed 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game while leading Houston to the league's best record.

Davis, 25, averaged a career-high 28.1 points, 11.1 boards and 2.6 blocks, along with a personal-best 2.3 assists per game.

At 33, James would be the oldest player to win the award since a 35-year-old Karl Malone did so in 1998-99. Only one player in his 30s has won the award since then: Steve Nash did so at 30 and 31.

Related: See the best photos from the Eastern Conference finals: 

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The best photos from the Celtics-Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals
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CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks the ball in the second half against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against Aron Baynes #46 of the Boston Celtics in the second half during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics in the first half during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball against Marcus Morris #13 of the Boston Celtics in the first half during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics and JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers get into an altercation in the second half during Game Two of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react on the bench in the second half against the Boston Celtics during Game Two of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Terry Rozier #12 of the Boston Celtics reacts after dunking the ball in the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Two of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers attempts a shot past Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during the second quarter in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket past Kevin Love #0 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the third quarter in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
May 13, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts to not getting a foul called during the third quarter of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) attempts a layup against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in game one of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) is guarded by Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris (13) during the first quarter of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts from the bench late in the fourth quarter in his teams loss to the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-83. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: Boston Celtics Al Horford hauls in an offensive rebound with pressure from Cleveland Cavaliers George Hill during third quarter action. The Boston Celtics hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers for Game One of their NBA Eastern Conference Final Playoff series at TD Garden in Boston on May 13, 2018. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 13: JR Smith #5 and Jordan Clarkson #8 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react to their teams loss to the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-83. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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A four-time winner of the award ('08-09, '09-10, '11-12, '12-13), James will finish in the top five of MVP voting for the 13th consecutive season. He has finished second twice and third three times in that span, and he finished fourth last season. He finished the regular season with averages of 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game, with the latter two figures equaling or exceeding career highs.

Davis was also named a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, alongside Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. Gobert finished second last year to Draymond Green.

The Sixers and Jazz also have representatives in the Rookie of the Year race, guards Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell, respectively. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is the third finalist in that category.

Related: See the best photos from the Western Conference finals: 

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The best photos from the Rockets-Warriors Western Conference Finals
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OAKLAND, CA - MAY 20: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors defends James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets during Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 20, 2018 in Oakland, California. 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
May 20, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green (14) shoots the basketball against Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia (27) during the second half in game three of the Western conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Rockets 126-85. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
May 20, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) controls there ball as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) falls during the second quarter in game three of the Western conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
May 20, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game three of the Western conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
May 20, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) falls into the fans behind Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second quarter in game three of the Western conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket in the second half against Chris Paul #3 and PJ Tucker #4 of the Houston Rockets in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after being called for a foul in the second quarter on Trevor Ariza #1 of the Houston Rockets in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on in the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts with Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dunks in the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on late in the game against the Houston Rockets in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Trevor Ariza #1 of the Houston Rockets sits on the court after committing a foul in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. 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 Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball against the Houston Rockets during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 16: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets in the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 16: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots against the Golden State Warriors in the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 16, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 16: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against the Houston Rockets during Game Two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 16, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dwane Casey, who was voted as the league's coach of the year by his peers before being fired by the Toronto Raptors last week, was named a finalist for the official award voted on by sportswriters and broadcasters. He is joined by Utah's Quin Snyder and Boston's Brad Stevens.

Rockets guard Eric Gordon, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet and Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams are finalists for Sixth Man of the Year, which Gordon won last year as Williams finished third. Williams won the award in 2014-15.

Houston's Clint Capela, the Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie and the Indiana Pacers' Victor Oladipo are finalists for Most Improved Player.

--Field Level Media

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