Thursday, 16 April 2015

Final Candidate - James Harden

Before I start, just imagine for a second if the OKC Thunder decided to pay James Harden what he wanted and he was still there? Im not mad about it, the trade for Harden resulted in the draft pick that ended up being Steven Adams, and who doesn't love seeing him on a (when healthy) great team. But just imagine it! KD, Westbrook and Harden? Almost wouldn't be fair!

But anyway, Harden has had a phenomenal season with the Rockets and turned into not just an all star, but a legitimate superstar. Here are the numbers

27.5 - Points a game which second in the league on 44/37/87 shooting
5.6 - Rebounds (3rd among guards)
6.9 - Assists a game which is ninth in the league
2 steals and 4 turnovers a game
5th in the league with a 26.82 P.E.R

Just like Westbrook and Curry, video game like!

But what Harden has done with this team is exceptional! Dwight Howard has only played half the season and the half he has played he has been fighting injury and hasn't been his usual dominant self (though the 15 and 10 he's putting up is still pretty useful). A legit argument can be made that Houston without Howard is similar talent wise to Oklahoma City without KD, but Houston have a playoff spot wrapped up, in fact about a week ago they were 2nd in the west, and depending on the results of todays Spurs vs Pelicans game and OKC's game vs Minnesota, OKC might not make the playoffs. The saying "putting the team on his back" doesn't really do him justice! They are tied for the second best record in the west (there final seeding hasn't been determined yet) and as I have mentioned with Westbrook and Curry, the west is extremely tough...A pretty special accomplishment for a team that hasn't been healthy the majority of the year and Harden is without question the biggest reason why they are in the position they are.

Now everyone knows Harden doesn't have a great reputation on the defensive side of the ball, most of us have probably seen one of the many youtube videos of Hardens lack of defence from last season by now...While he is probably never going to be a defensive player of the year candidate he is much improved in the area! Defensive stats (steals and blocks) aren't always great indicators of someones overall defensive ability, but Harden is 5th in the league in steals. He is still prone to the occasional possession like the one below...but he definitely isn't the liability he has been in the past at that end.


                                  (Seriously though this is pretty funny)



Regardless of whether he wins the award or not...He definitely has the best beard out there haha

AP

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