1. James Harden
Once again, James Harden tops another list. No matter which way you look at the numbers, The Beard is far and away the best passer to ever put on a Houston Rockets uniform.
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While he averaged just 2.5 assists per game throughout his first three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden really hit his passing stride when he joined the Rockets in 2012.
James increased his season average from 3.7 to 5.8 right away and then proceeded to increase that average four consecutive seasons.
In 2016-17, Harden led the league in total assists with 907 while also scoring 29.1 points per game, and that wasn’t even the season in which he took home the regular-season MVP award.
That season, James accounted for 43.8 percent of the team’s total assists, averaging 11.2 per game.
What makes James so deadly is how well he does just about everything on the court. His one-on-one game is second-to-none, allowing him to beat defenders with a stepback or jumper in their face.
Because opponents have to respect his jumper, Harden’s drive-and-dish game also opens up. Harden also perfected the lob throughout his years playing with Clint Capela, often surprising defenders with his sudden one-handed floating lob just when it looks like he’s taking the ball all the way to the basket.
Harden’s 7.7 assists per game as a Rocket is currently second to only Chris Paul, and he is the franchise’s all-time leader in total assists with 4,651.
It will be interesting to see the effect that Russell Westbrook joining the team has long-term when it comes to Harden’s assist numbers, but this season, his 7.4 per game is virtually the same number he put up last season.
While James is likely to pass up Calvin Murphy for second in total franchise points in his next game (whenever that may be), his dominance as a passer is certainly worth recognition.