Houston Rockets guard James Harden has won the Western Conference player of the week award. Here’s why Harden is more than deserving of this award.
The early signs of the Houston Rockets’ 2019-20 season are that James Harden has picked up where he left off last season. If you recall, Harden went on his “unguardable tour,” as he went on to score 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games, which is the second longest streak in league history.
Through ten games, Harden is leading the league in scoring yet again, and is averaging 37.3 points per game, which is more than the 36.1 points he averaged during the 2018-19 season. Thus far, Harden has had the most inefficient shooting percentages of his career, as he’s averaging 40.7 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from deep, but those numbers are steadily rising with each passing game. To that point, Harden averaged 29.3 points on 27 percent from the field and 15 percent from deep through the first three games.
The last few games have been a much different story, as Harden has the Rockets riding a four-game win streak. Not counting Monday’s game against New Orleans, Harden has averaged 40.7 points, 9.3 assists and 8 rebounds per game on 43.1 percent from downtown over the Rockets’ past three games. Those efforts have landed him the Western Conference Player of the Week, and rightfully so. Harden had a double-double in each game and came within one rebound of a triple-double on Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
Harden has many detractors who have pushed the narrative of him being a bad defender, even though that wasn’t the case last season. During the Rockets’ three game win streak, Harden averaged 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks as well, which should further distance himself from the narrative of being a bad defender. It should also remove the label of Harden not providing any effort on the defensive end of the floor.
It won’t be a surprise if Harden wins many more Player of the Week awards this season, and hopefully the Rockets’ current win streak won’t end anytime soon!