The five Houston Rockets included on SI’s top 100 players of 2019-20

By Lachard Binkley
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

No. 5: James Harden (4 last year)

When you are ranked in the top five of any list, you are definitely in elite company. When analyzing the best of the best, perception is everything when it comes to these lists. Being that Harden has been a runner-up for MVP three different times, including last season, Harden is undoubtedly a top-two player in the league.

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Of course, there is room for debate, but when you are a former MVP with a strong case for a couple more, it’s hard to not have Harden higher on this list. Coming off a career-high average of 36.1 points per game along with 7.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds, Harden had a historically great season in 2018-19.

Harden single-handedly carried the Rockets during a rough patch filled with multiple injuries when he exploded for 30 or more points in 32 straight games last season. If that doesn’t scream value, I don’t know what does.

The common narrative is that Harden does not show up when it’s crunch time but this narrative is false when you look at last year’s numbers. Harden finished second in points scored in the last two minutes of a game in which both teams were within two points of each other. In the playoffs, James finished tied for third in the same situation.

Coming in at number five this year is an honor, but it still seems way too low. When it comes down to it, James Harden should have been the MVP last season and should be number one on SI’s top 100 list.

When you are a championship contender every year, you are bound to have multiple players that are top 100 talent. The Houston Rockets are a top-three team with a chance to take that next step this year.

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Loaded with five of the best 100 players in the league, the Rockets should prove that they’re as good as any team in the NBA this season.

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