Houston Rockets: Harden off to a historical start despite fewer attempts

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets’ star James Harden has gotten off to a historical start on the 2019-20 season. Here’s how impressive his start has been thus far!

It’s no secret that Houston Rockets guard James Harden is supremely gifted, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Harden averaged 36.1 points per game during the 2018-19 season and single-handedly lifted the Rockets from 14th in the Western Conference to fourth in the playoff race, despite a myriad of injuries.

During that season, Harden made history, as he scored 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games, which was the second longest streak of all time. Harden’s 36.1 points per game were the most since Michael Jordan in the 1986-87 season.

The Rockets had a roster overhaul in the offseason, as they added Russell Westbrook, who joins Harden as one of the most ball-dominant guards in the NBA. Naturally, there were questions concerning how this pairing would work, and many who believed the pairing wouldn’t work at all. Kevin Durant, who played with both Westbrook and Harden in Oklahoma City, has said that the duo will be unstoppable together.

With James Harden winning Western Conference Player of the Week and the Rockets riding a four game win streak, it’s safe to say the pairing will be just fine. But Harden has gotten off to a historic start through the first ten games of the season. Harden has scored 35 or more points in each the last four games, and currently is leading the league in scoring by a margin of 4.3 points per game. To add some color to that, Harden is playing only the seventh most minutes per game this season.

With 12 percent of the 2019-20 season in the books, Harden has joined the ranks of the league’s best, as explained by Justin Kubatko of Statmuse.

James Harden has scored 373 points this season, the most by a player in his first 10 games of a season since Rick Barry had 381 points in 1966-67. Barry and Wilt Chamberlain (2x) are the only players in NBA history to eclipse Harden's point total through 10 games.

— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) November 12, 2019

This is impressive, as Harden has had only 243 field goal attempts as compared to Barry’s 284 attempts through the first ten games. Harden also has only had 99 total field goals as compared to Barry’s 134 field goals.

Kubatko also added another elite class Harden has joined thus far in the season.

The @HoustonRockets James Harden now has seven 35-point games this season, third most in NBA history through a player's first 10 games of a season:

10 – Wilt Chamberlain, 1962-63
9 – Chamberlain, 1961-62
7 – James Harden, 2019-20

— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) November 12, 2019

Harden’s hot start to the season has been one for the books, and it’s amazing that he’s only shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from downtown. Harden could very well have more total points and more 35 point games if he wasn’t struggling from the 3-point line.

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It won’t be surprising if Harden makes more history this year, as he will surely improve his shooting efficiency over the course of the season.