Better Offensive Player: Michael Jordan
Yes, James Harden is the better 3-point shooter, shot creator and passer. He holds the edge when it comes to the criteria I established. Does this mean he is actually the better overall offensive player? Absolutely not.
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Efficiency also plays a role in offense. We can’t totally disregard that, and as we all know, Harden has been an efficiency nightmare as of late. Also, free throw shooting does not help Harden in this case.
In the last six seasons, Harden has averaged double-digit free-throw attempts. Yes, Harden has broken the league due to the way he gets to the line, but standing at the free-throw line uncontested doesn’t require that much skill.
Jordan, on the other hand, has only attempted more than ten free throws per game in a season twice, which means, for the most part, Jordan was getting his points in a much more difficult circumstance.
Throughout his career on the Bulls, Jordan only shot under 45 percent once. Harden, on the other hand, has shot under 45 percent in eight of his 11 NBA seasons.
Yes, Jordan not really shooting 3-pointers gives him an advantage when it pertains to efficiency, but maybe if Harden adds the mid-range to his game, that can help better his.
Michael Jordan is the better offensive player of the two due to his efficiency and pure dominance against tougher defenders. Jordan’s great efficiency in an era with great defense and Harden’s not-so-good efficiency in an era where teams score 100 by the third quarter is hard to ignore.
As you might expect, the correct answer to this question is Michael Jordan, but Harden isn’t that far behind. By the end of his career, I think there’s a good chance James Harden will flip these results.