James Harden has been ground-breaking ever since he landed with the Houston Rockets in 2012. But despite Harden’s historical outputs, has his greatness gone unnoticed?
Houston Rockets‘ superstar James Harden is on pace for another historical season during the 2019-20 season, as he’s currently on pace for 38.6 points per game, which is the highest since Wilt Chamberlain during the 1962-63 season. Despite that, Harden has constantly received criticism and slander from the national media and many of the NBA’s fans. At times it seems Harden can never win, as he faces scrutiny even when he scores 60 points, which is selectively applied just to Harden.
Most of the time when other players score 40 points they receive praise, let alone 50 points. But for some strange reason Harden can drop 60 and we hear the constant narrative of “yeah he scored 60 points but..” Many times the sentence is completed with who the Houston Rockets played, as if Harden has control over that. Many other times the milestone is discredited with how many free throw attempts Harden had during the specific game, as if it’s Harden’s fault that he’s getting fouled.
Other times Harden’s milestones are discredited by the number of 3-point field goals Harden attempted in the specific game, which is a take that conveniently overlooks the fact that Harden is a career 36.5 percent 3-point shooter. Harden has even lost out on the MVP award on numerous occasions, which is the ultimate slight.
It’s simply unprecedented for someone to score 60 points and have it viewed as an afterthought, like it is with Harden. But Harden has been the lone exception, regardless of whether the disclaimers have been valid or not. This feeds into the blatantly obvious position by the national media to ignore everything Harden accomplishes.
Despite the fact that Harden is averaging 38.6 points on a nightly basis on only 37.6 minutes per contest, in addition to drawing constant double-teams and sometimes even triple-teams, he’s still leading the league in scoring.
In spite of that, Harden isn’t the MVP front-runner in the mind of many of the basketball experts, which further raises the question of whether his greatness is getting overlooked.
Harden is currently on pace to accomplish something that even Michael Jordan never did. Harden’s current average of 38.6 points per game is more than Jordan ever averaged. But not only that, Jordan’s best season was in the 1986-87 season in which he averaged 37.1 points per game on 40 minutes per game and 27.8 field goal attempts per contest.
Harden is scoring more than Jordan’s best season on only 24.7 field goal attempts per game, which are actually only slightly more than the 24.5 field goal attempts he averaged during his historical 2018-19 season.
Harden is doing something we’ve never seen yet before yet it feels like he’s constantly being overlooked, which is the opposite of what you would expect from something as rare and ground-breaking as Harden’s scoring outputs. If this were anyone else, we would never hear the end of it, and if it were Michael Jordan, we would be praising him until the end of time. Hopefully for Harden’s sake, his historical scoring abilities aren’t going unnoticed because we really are witnessing history.