Is it now time to give it to Harden?
Is James Harden in the conversation for best scorer of all time?
James Harden just recently tied Michael Jordan for the most 60 point games. This is a tremendous stat, but does this clarify Harden as the best scorer of all time? He is now in great company with Wilt Chamberlin, Kobe Bryant, and Jordan.
Harden has been a lethal threat in the NBA for seven seasons straight. He is able to attack defenses with his strength, handles, athleticism, shooting, and basketball IQ. His step back is arguably the best in the NBA. Harden honestly knows how to work the system. This allows him to put the best defenders in foul trouble. Harden on Saturday night, versus the Atlanta Hawks, scored 60 points in three quarters. Players and coaches have a terrible time game planning against Harden for 48 minutes. Harden is steadily getting double teams because of the pressure he causes on teams. Harden recently won NBA "Toughest to Guard" of the year.
Kyle Kuzma explains what makes it so hard to guard James Harden | NBA on ESPN youtu.be
"You have to stay disciplined from the start of the game to the end of the game, from the start of the possession to the end of the possession. It's an incredible discipline," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. (USA Today/ Jeff Zillgitt)
He has captured two scoring titles with the Rockets. Harden has averaged 29 ppg in the last seven seasons with the Rockets. This season, Harden is averaging 39.5 ppg which is unbelievable.
Does this clarify Harden as the best scorer? No! Harden still has to prove that he is an efficient scorer. It is rare when Harden shoots above 45% from the field in a game. Harden has always depended on foul calls to bail him out in tough situations. Most of his points do come from the free throw line. It is hard to give him the best scorer of all time over Bryant, Jordan, and Chamberlin. Harden puts up great numbers, but where exactly is he getting his points from.? He faces major criticism about his free throw attempts every game.
Harden is great scorer because he found an easier way to score. What made him a great a scorer was learning how to play the game. Harden found ways to get to the free throw line easier. This does not make him the greatest scorer of all time but makes him the smartest player to score in the NBA.
Harden will be in the top five of scoring in the end of his career but not the best.