Another category that has to be taken into account is each player’s performance in the clutch. There’s a widely accepted belief that James Harden doesn’t deliver when it matters most, but that’s statistically incorrect as Harden has been the best performer in the clutch of late.
The recent eye test would cause many to choose McGrady in this area, but the numbers warrant a much different selection. There have been five seasons in which Harden has finished inside the top five in total clutch scoring, and another season in which he finished 12th in the same category.
On the flip side, McGrady never finished higher than 18th in this category, and he actually had three seasons in which he finished 70th or worse. Furthermore, T-Mac never performed 40 percent or better from long-range during winning time, whereas Harden accomplished this feat twice.
Harden has also proven himself to be able to be able to close games out from the charity stripe during winning time at a higher rate than McGrady. Harden had five seasons in which he made at least 80 percent of his free throws during winning time, whereas T-Mac had only two. Harden has even made 90 percent of his free throws once, which McGrady never did.
Advantage: James Harden
Although McGrady had a great career as a member of the Houston Rockets, it falls considerably short in comparison to James Harden’s. In fact, it isn’t fair to McGrady that we’re even making the comparison.