Payton praises Harden
Earlier in the season, Houston Rockets guard James Harden became the seventh-youngest player in NBA history to eclipse 20,000 points, as Harden reached the milestone at the age of 30, which is the same age Oscar Robertson was when he topped the mark.
What’s really interesting about this is the fact that Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant were all 29 years-old when they entered the club. This begs the question of how much sooner Harden would have reached this milestone if he weren’t coming off the bench for the first three years of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Gary Payton was on NBA TV and couldn’t help but give praise to the 2018 MVP.
“For Harden to have scored that many points, and then think about it, his first three years when he was in Oklahoma City, he didn’t really score that way. Just think about if he would’ve came out scoring.
I think if he can stay in the league for about six more years, seven more years at that pace, he’ll catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar easily. He’ll catch Kareem by far. For him to even be at 30 years old and at 20,000 points is amazing.
What he has done is he has mastered the scoring to a level I haven’t ever seen. Where he can step back, hit threes, and get to the foul line 25 times, 20 times.”
Payton made the same point regarding The Beard having been a Sixth Man for roughly a third of his career. He also questioned how much differently things would have turned out if Harden would’ve “came out scoring” from day one of his NBA career. This is what separates him from the others on this list, and can’t be ignored by the Harden detractors, and we know there are many.
But unfortunately for the Harden haters, Payton has a point.
Next: Why Payton is right