Anthony Davis puts Rockets’ James Harden in elite company

Anthony Davis James Harden (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis James Harden (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Los Angeles Lakers star forward Anthony Davis put Houston Rockets superstar James Harden in elite company, citing him as one of the best three offensive forces in the league.

The Houston Rockets faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers eight times during the 2019-20 season, including both the regular season and the postseason. The Rockets went 2-1 during the regular season but were defeated by the eventual champions within five games of the Western Conference Semifinal round.

James Harden proved to be challenging for the Lakers to defend, as he posted averages of 29.4 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds, while making 37.8 percent of his 3-pointers. Harden’s scoring outputs led the series, and were also nearly identical to his scoring totals during the Rockets’ opening round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis recently joined FanSided’s Da Windy City podcast and discussed the difficulty of preventing the Houston Rockets superstar from having his way with opponents.

“James, I think he’s the best isolation player in the game. His stepbacks, the way he’s able to draw fouls.”

Davis puts Houston Rockets’ James Harden in elite company

During the three games between the Rockets and the Lakers throughout the season, Harden averaged 29 points, 8.7 assists, and seven rebounds. Davis also lauded Harden’s ability to get to the foul line, which was on display during the regular season, as he averaged 12.3 free throws against the Lakers, while making 35 of his 37 attempts, which was good for 94.6 percent from the charity stripe.

Harden also drew 11.2 free throws against the Lakers during the postseason, while making 83.9 percent of his foul shots, which lends further credence to the notion that he’s able to not only draw fouls, but convert on his attempts at a high clip.

Davis also added that the three toughest players to defend in the league are Kevin Durant, Harden, and Damian Lillard, and in that order. Harden and the Rockets appear to be at a crossroads, as he’s reportedly been seeking an avenue to join Durant and Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets, although the path could be difficult for Harden, as he has two years under contract before he can exercise his player option and control his future.

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But regardless of where he lands, Davis is right: Harden will be one of the most difficult players to defend in the entire league.