There’s been a debate regarding which Houston Rockets player was better between James Harden and Tracy McGrady. Here’s why this isn’t much of a debate.
With the NBA on hiatus, there’s not been any news on the Houston Rockets front, which is painful to write. The Rockets haven’t played a game since March 10th, and it’s clear it’s caused us to lose our minds from boredom.
Both in their prime, who was the better player ?
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— ContentNBA (@ContentNBA) March 26, 2020
It’s important to note that this isn’t a question of one-on-one, it’s a question of which player was the better overall player, which is a much different argument. McGrady might have a better leg to stand on if this were a one-on-one matchup, but I’m still not certain Harden doesn’t win that battle also.
A good measure in the overall player argument is the player efficiency rating, as that takes into account the overall contributions a player made across the board. This doesn’t bode well for McGrady, as Harden has had a 23.5 or higher in seven consecutive seasons, whereas T-Mac never reached that mark during his Houston Rockets tenure.
Player comparisons are often a disservice to both players, as there’s always one player who will be selected as the better player, which will instantly undermine the player who wasn’t selected. That’s certainly the case for McGrady in this particular debate, and the PER was a good example of that.
McGrady was a great player in his own right, and was a Hall of Fame talent. But for as great as he was, the correct answer to the question of T-Mac or The Beard is James Harden, for a multitude of reasons.