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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
6 of 8
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Jordan vs. Harden: Offensive Plus/Minus

You could go even further and measure the offensive box plus/minus, which measures the offensive points per 100 possessions that a player contributed above the league average. This category essentially just shows the two as being equal, as Jordan averaged a 6.9 over the course of his 15 seasons and Harden averages 6.8 over his 10 years in the league. Sure Jordan had a higher number, but not significantly higher enough to be established as a clear cut better offensive player. This past season, Harden posted a 10.5, while Jordan’s career high was a 9.8. This past season was Harden’s first time leading the league in offensive box plus/minus, while Jordan led the league in this category 8 different times.

This is misleading though, because Jordan had scores of 6.9, 7.2 and 6.5 that led the league, whereas Harden posted 7.4, 7.1, 8.7, and even 9.6 and none of which led the league. To put that in perspective, Jordan’s career high in this category is a 9.8, which he posted twice and led the league both times, whereas Harden averaged a 9.6 two seasons ago and wasn’t first in the league. All in all, this category just goes to show again that they are the best offensive players of their respective eras, and not very far apart.

Next: True Shooting Percentage

facebooktwitterreddit