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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 ESPNyoutu.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.
A Spurs fan told Harden "no one wants to see a free-throw shooting contest" Beard: 🗣"Nobody wants to see fouls eit… https://t.co/E1WCnXtbQy— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report) 1575427527.0
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.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.