2. The advanced analytics favor James Harden
If Harden winning the battle in the traditional stats department wasn’t enough, the advanced analytics actually favor Harden too.
Offensive win shares goes to Harden, who finished first in the league in that category, while Giannis took third. Harden also took first overall in total win shares, while Antetokounmpo again placed third. Harden led the league in box plus/minus while Giannis finished second and Harden led the NBA in offensive box plus/minus while Giannis finished just seventh. Finally, Harden led the NBA in value over replacement player and Giannis again finished in second place.
To be fair, Giannis did outpace Harden in player efficiency with a rating of 30.9 and Harden placed second with a rating of 30.6. Giannis also won the battle in both defensive win shares and defensive box/plus minus, so he takes the cake on the defensive end of the floor.
Advanced analytics shine brightly on both players, but the numbers skew towards Harden’s side. Harden’s massive numbers directly contributed to Houston’s wins and he led all players in a lot of advanced categories.
Next: No. 1