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@  thejohnnygold : (19 April 2018 - 02:20 PM) This scoop shot right here!
@  thejohnnygold : (19 April 2018 - 03:42 AM) That might be the best scoop shot I've ever seen
@  DenverRocket : (16 April 2018 - 04:08 AM) At least CP3 can only get better! Also, if our 3pt shooting comes back, it won't be close.
@  thejohnnygold : (16 April 2018 - 03:41 AM) Phew!
@  thejohnnygold : (16 April 2018 - 01:57 AM) When did Capela get that Euro-Step?
@  Mario Peña : (08 April 2018 - 05:40 PM) I don’t mind the loss to the Thunder last night. This Rockets team needs to be anticipating teams going for the jugular and Harden and co. need to fight through playoff levels of physical play.
@  rocketrick : (24 March 2018 - 01:43 PM) Walk for a Rocket Championship seems so empty while teenagers are truly and courageously Walking for Their Lives Today.
@  DenverRocket : (23 March 2018 - 05:06 PM) Brandan Wright released apparently
@  thejohnnygold : (22 March 2018 - 02:21 PM) Harden looks unstoppable right now. Really enjoying the way he has matured.
@  slick shoes : (21 March 2018 - 04:05 PM) Great win last night against the Blazers. Was good to see us take a punch in the mouth and stand our ground. A nice long homestand with 3/5 of the teams in tank mode should provide some nice rest for our starting group. Hopefully Ariza and Anderson can find their groove in the mean time as well.
@  slick shoes : (19 March 2018 - 07:12 PM) was hoping we'd have a large enough lead going in to the 4th last night that CP and James would get to rest the last 12 but we took our foot off the gas....
@  thejohnnygold : (18 March 2018 - 12:21 PM) I'm sure they have some plans for rest down the stretch...hopefully.
@  Mario Peña : (17 March 2018 - 08:09 PM) Durant out for two weeks perhaps too, hope James takes the opportunity to rest some himself.
@  slick shoes : (14 March 2018 - 06:05 PM) Curry out for multiple games plus Thompson out for two weeks makes that two game lead just a little more comfortable.
@  Mario Peña : (11 March 2018 - 06:12 PM) That loss hopefully contained lessons for this Rockets team. Teams will take away the three as much as they can in the later rounds of the playoffs.
@  rocketrick : (08 March 2018 - 05:54 PM) Oh Yeah, The winning streak up to 17 now and with a very tough road game on Friday against....
@  rocketrick : (08 March 2018 - 05:53 PM) Addition of Joe Johnson after the Trade Deadline and how that could impact our Team in the Playoffs
@  rocketrick : (08 March 2018 - 05:47 PM) I'm here to read and comment not to write articles
@  rocketrick : (08 March 2018 - 05:46 PM) New ownership
@  rocketrick : (08 March 2018 - 05:46 PM) Our bench

Photo

Hakeem vs. Harden


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#1 Red94

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:54 AM

New post: Hakeem vs. Harden
By: Rahat Huq

https://twitter.com/RedNinetyFour/status/844253902770003968

 

I've had seven hours to reflect on this blasphemy, and I'm realizing I don't regret making this statement.  Yes, I'm well aware of the challenges in making cross-positional, cross-generational comparisons.  (Sheesh, some of you have to take all of the fun out of life).  And yes, I'm aware of Hakeem's postseason brilliance.  (As one reader noted, I'm not sure what relevance those circumstances have to my claim - we're arguing abilities not historical body of work.)  But what James Harden is doing right now, in carrying an all-time offense, is at the very least on par with anything Olajuwon produced on that end.

 

Where Olajuwon, of course, set himself apart was the defensive end.  In fact, Olajuwon's age 27 season (where Harden currently is), in 1989-1990, was the most prolific of his career on the boards and at the rim as he averaged a whopping 14 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game.  Imagine what those numbers would look like at the pace of today's game.  In Olajuwon's MVP season, 1993-1994, he averaged 27.3 points (the second highest mark of his career), 11.9 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game.  Harden is averaging 29.4 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds.  The Rockets will probably finish close to the 58-24 mark they posted in 1993-1994.  I'm not going to break down the advanced metrics because its almost 9:00 P.M. and I don't have the mental energy for that, and more importantly, those sorts of factors hold no weight in hypothetical banter of this sort.  For now, it will take a good argument to convince me against my claim.


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#2 thejohnnygold

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 02:44 PM

I won't try to convince you otherwise.  That does not mean I agree.

 

I found myself thinking recently that Harden has cemented himself as the second best Rocket of all-time (with the potential to surpass Olajuwon depending on how things go).  Now, even if I omit defense I still cannot give Harden the #1 spot...yet.

 

As much as James Harden has accomplished, he has not proven to be flat out unstoppable.  The greatest have all done this.  This is the problem with relying on the referees for 1/3 of your offense.  Ignoring last year's aberration, let's look at our WC Finals run.

 

In 8 losses, Harden averaged 8.75 FTA's/game.  In 9 wins, he averaged 12 FTA's/game.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think those measly 3 points made the difference (the scores show they did not).  I think, overall, they matter psychologically more so than anything else.

 

Getting back to my point of being unstoppable.  This is something that gets measured in the post-season.  We all know the deal.  The game changes.  Defense gets ratcheted up.  Coaches actually coach.  What then?  I think James has a great chance to change that this year and, if he can, it will be incredibly impressive as he will have to do it against some elite players and teams.

 

The odds are we will have to go through both San Antonio and Golden State.  Before that, we get to warm up against either OKC or Memphis.  That means Harden will be going heads up against the likes of Tony Allen/Mike Conley, Westbrook/Roberson, Leonard/Green, and Klay/Draymond.  Just typing that was daunting.

 

The only good news is GS and SA will be coming off slug-fests of their own (unless Portland somehow manages to sneak past Denver for the final spot).  I'm stoked about the GS/Denver first round match-up.

 

If James can carry us through that gauntlet and, at least, put on a good showing in the Finals (presumably against the Cavs) then I may have to move him up the list.

 

Also, defense matters.  :P


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#3 thejohnnygold

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:02 PM

I think this is relevant to the discussion and, conveniently, came out today.

 

 

It's a great breakdown of what we do on offense.

 

I posted it in here because it brings up something I did not consider earlier: coaching.

 

Hakeem, for the most part, ran Iso's in the post.  That was the system.  Give the man some space and watch him work.

 

Harden, under McHale, was in a similar situation.  Despite McHale's constant talk about the ball "getting sticky", he never seemed to do much to coerce the ball out of James' hands.  While James was still amazing under those circumstances it also showcased his faults and limitations.

 

Looking back at Hakeem, it was this very thing which showcased his greatness.  In spite of everything an opposing team could throw at him, and with little help from the sidelines, the man just kept on scoring.  

 

 

It is worth watching every second of this video.  It shows it all.  Hakeem's quickness was a great asset and he abused everyone with it.  Listen with the sound on and take note of the reactions from not just the crowds, but the announcers who watch basketball all the time.  Even they are in awe.

 

This next video is pretty awesome because you can see to what degree teams went to try and stop Olajuwon...and failed.  This is the '95 WC Finals against the Spurs.  Hakeem is primarily defended by Dennis Rodman (considered one of the greatest defenders of all time) and then double and triple teamed constantly.

 

These were Hakeem's averages in that series (we won 4-2):

 

QlDtTMn.jpg

 

Freakin' amazing.

 

My apologies...I will never understand why some videos won't embed here, but click this link to watch Rodman vs. Hakeem.

 

One last note...these videos also show that Hakeem would likely have averaged a triple-double if hockey assists counted.  Whatever that is worth...


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