James Harden has been surrounded by significantly less talent that Steph’s superteams, yet he’s had more assists than Steph in each of the last five years. In fact, Steph isn’t even the best passer on his team, as that title belongs to Draymond Green.
The Rockets have consistently run the offense through Harden, because he has the ability to dish out to the open man or get his own bucket. Sure Steph is a capable passer, but he relies on others to get him an open shot more often than not, as opposed to finding the open shot for others.
Harden has a court vision that Steph doesn’t have, and he also makes others around him better. This is most evident with the development of former Rockets’ center Clint Capela. Although Clint has unquestionable skills on the defensive end, he’s been fairly limited on the offensive end.
This isn’t necessarily a knock on Capela, but he’s not exhibited a post-game on the offensive end. In spite of that, Capela’s scoring totals improved for three consecutive seasons, as he went from averaging 12.6 points in 2016-17 to 13.9 points in 2017-18 to 16.6 points in 2018-19.
Clint became the beneficiary of Harden’s double teams, as Harden would feed him lobs and/or drive to the basket and feed him the rock in the paint upon drawing a second defender. On the flip side, Curry has never made any of his teammates better because of his passing.
Advantage: James Harden