Rockets News

Houston Rockets: Detailing why it’s unfair to compare Jordan vs. Harden

Anthony Duckett
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks at the scoreboard in the second quarter during Game Three of the Second Round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks at the scoreboard in the second quarter during Game Three of the Second Round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during the game against the Golden State Warriors
Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during the game against the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Jordan vs. Harden: Offensive Win Shares

Jordan led the league in offensive win shares in 8 of the 15 seasons he played, and in 8 of the 10 years he won the scoring title. Harden has led the league in offensive win shares in each of the last 3 seasons and both of the years he won the scoring title.

Offensive win shares measures the number of wins a player contributes due to his offense. This is one of the better barometers of measuring how good a player is offensively and would especially be helpful in assessing the question of who the better scorer is between Harden and Jordan.

Harden has had at least 11.4 offensive win shares in each of the 3 seasons he led the league, while Jordan actually scored 12 or better in each of the 8 years he led the league. Harden’s career high is 11.6 whereas Jordan’s career high was an astronomical 15.2. While it may seem like this argument rules in favor of Jordan, to me it just suggests that each player was the best scorer of their own respective time.

Next: Offensive Plus/Minus

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