Harden is the better overall scorer, as he has the ability to get to the line and can light it up from deep at will, which can’t be said about McGrady. In fact, Harden has averaged 10.4 free throw attempts per game as a member of the Houston Rockets, while McGrady has averaged 6.3 free throw attempts per game.
Not only that, Harden is the better free throw shooter, as he’s capitalized on 86.1 percent of his trips to the line compared to T-Mac’s 73.7 percent. This means if the game was on the line and either player was fouled, you’d have more confidence in Harden closing it out.
McGrady made 32.2 percent of his 3-pointers during his Rockets’ career, whereas Harden has made 36.2 percent of his treys. This is actually an area in which Harden’s game gets overlooked, as the law of averages states that he would shoot a higher percentage if he didn’t attempt as many treys.
So in spite of the fact that Harden has led the league in 3-pointers for three consecutive seasons, he’s still performed at a better clip than McGrady. We’d have to cut T-Mac some slack because the league wasn’t as dependent on the 3-point shot during his era, so maybe McGrady fared better in the 2-point field goals category right?
Wrong. McGrady made 45.2 percent of his 2-point shots, whereas Harden has made 50.8 percent of his. Granted, this is not to say McGrady wasn’t an elite scorer during his time with the Houston Rockets, as he had 63 games in which he scored 30 points and had 16 games in which he scored 40 points during his Houston Rockets career. Although those are great accomplishments, they trail Harden significantly, as Harden has had 187 games of scoring 30 points and 72 games in which he scored 40.
On top of that, Harden has had 23 games in which he’s scored at least 50 points, while McGrady never accomplished that feat during his tenure with the Rockets. This is perhaps the biggest example of how this question shouldn’t even be asked.
Advantage: James Harden