The Houston Rockets star - who averaged a career-best 36.1 points per game, the seventh-best mark in league history - blamed his failed bid at a second straight MVP on the media, saying they tend to pick their winner at the start of the year.
"Once the media, they create a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and then run with it the entire year," Harden said during his appearance on 97.9 The Box. "All I can do is control what I can do, and I went out there and did what I was supposed to do at a high level. There's only (a) few other seasons that anybody's ever done that before."
Harden's most impressive feat was scoring 30-plus points in 32 consecutive games, ranking as the second-best streak of all time behind Wilt Chamberlain. However, despite the attention Harden's play had garnered, Antetokounmpo received the nod for the MVP award after leading the Bucks to their first 60-win season since 1980-81.
"People were tuned in to how many points I was going to score the next game," Harden said. "It was a thing. But I can't control (the MVP voting). The only thing I can control is coming back next year and being better than I was and winning a chip."
Harden and Westbrook reached the NBA Finals together with Oklahoma City in 2012, but the former was dealt to the Rockets shortly after the Thunder fell to the Miami Heat in five games.