Let me preface this by saying, I hate James Harden.
Ok, maybe not hate, but I really, really, really don’t like him as a NBA player.
The whining, the play style, the consistent postseason stumbling all just rubs me the wrong way.
But despite all of this.
I have to sit back and appreciate what this man has achieved, no matter how much it pains me to say it.
He’s an MVP, 8x All-star, 6x 1st Team All-NBA, 1x 3rd Team All-NBA, a Sixth man of the year, a 3x Scoring Champion and an Assist leader.
With all of this being said he is only 31 and has at least 3 or 4 more years of heavy production to come.
The question I’ve had to grapple with lately regarding Harden is this.
Is he underrated or overrated?
Harden has finished 2nd in MVP voting 3 times in his career, and 3rd once. All of these have come since the 2014-15 season but despite this, Harden is borderline a Top 5 player. Using the MVP finishes though it would be a fair call for him to be seen as top 3 player in the league no?
It seems as though the talent above him though is just too much to compete with?
LeBron, KD, Kawhi, Giannis, Curry, Luka, AD, all have realistic cases to be ranked above Harden.
But looking at the stats, should they be?
The last 3 seasons, Harden has averaged 33 points per game. That’s crazy. No one else in the league comes even close to that, and the last player to do this? Michael Jeffery Jordan.
On top of this, he has been an elite ball distributor, having averaged 8 per game since 2016-17, maxing out at 11.2 in one year alone. He gets his teammates involved on a level matched by few in the league.
James has had many attacks levelled at him for his defensive capability across his career and I am not here saying he is outstanding at all BUT he really isn’t as bad as he is made out to be. He has averaged 1.6 steals per game his entire career and in reality the man is fairly quick and 6ft 5in. He can stay ahead of his opposing player when asked to but I think it’s the effort itself that is sometimes lacking.
He is set to break numerous scoring and three-point shooting records in his career and is one of the few players in modern NBA history to have revolutionised the league alongside players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
But in many, many ways Harden is overrated too.
Some people have Harden as high as the fourth best Shooting Guard of All-time behind of course MJ, Kobe and D-Wade, and whilst Harden is great and realistically does deserve that number 4 spot, without proper post-season success I think he will be hard pressed to overtake the Flash for 3.
The biggest factor that has been a roadblock in Hardens career is probably just his overall effort, or lack thereof rather.
Traditionally, Harden has come into NBA seasons ov