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Houston Rockets: Why Ric Flair is Right About James Harden’s MVP Snub

Anthony Duckett
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the game against the Miami Heat
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the game against the Miami Heat (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

More Scoring Around Giannis

On the year, Giannis led Milwaukee in scoring, as he had 27.7 points per game, while All-Star Khris Middleton was second with 18.3 points per game, so Giannis led the Bucks in scoring by a difference of 9.4 points per game. Harden led the Rockets with 36.1 points per game and the second leading scorer was Clint Capela who averaged 16.6 points per game. That was a difference of 19.5 points per game, which was by far the largest scoring differential in the league amongst a team’s two leading scorers. The next closest scoring differential amongst leading scorers was Charlotte, which had a 10.3 point scoring differential between Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb.

In addition, the Bucks had 4 double digit scorers who played in at least 70 games, which were Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, Middleton and Antetokounmpo, whereas Harden was the sole such player for Houston. Not only that, but of the 72 games Giannis played in, there were 18 games in which he didn’t lead the Bucks in scoring. Of those 18 games, the Bucks won 16 of them, meaning 89% of the time the Bucks won without Giannis having to carry them offensively. There were only 5 games Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring, and the team won 4 of them, which is an 80% ratio.

Of the 53 wins the Rockets had last season, Harden led the team in scoring in 47 of them, good for 89%. By comparison, of the 60 games the Bucks won, Giannis was their points leader in 41 of them, which is a 68% ratio. The best way to summarize this is by stating that 32% of the Bucks wins came without Giannis having to carry the torch offensively, whereas only 11% of the Rockets wins came without Harden carrying the offensive load.

The most compelling argument of this point is the fact that Giannis had less than 20 points in 12 games last season. Of those games, Milwaukee actually won 10 of them. Harden only had 3 games in which he scored under 20 points, and the Rockets lost all three.

Next: Unfair Advantage for Giannis

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