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Grading James Harden

What more could James Harden have realistically accomplished this season? Before judging his porous defense (which I’ll be doing in a little while) or hounding on his sometimes poor decision-making in crunch time (he just missed another step back jumper), try and answer the question reasonably.

What more could he have done as a 23-year-old assuming the weight of an entire franchise for the first time? There are so many fantastic things Harden did for the Houston Rockets this season, and almost all of them exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Let’s start with changing a culture. Harden spent 78 regular season games representing the efficient style of basketball Houston wants its players to embody. That’s three-pointers, free-throws, and shots at the rim. According to NBA.com/Stats, over 90% of Harden’s points this season came from three-pointers, free-throws, and points in the paint. Just 7.1% of his scoring came on mid-range jump shots.

As the team’s leader and best player, Harden’s offensive tendencies were mimicked by just about all his teammates. Houston attempted the second most threes in the league, the fourth most free-throws and ranked ninth in percentage of team points that were scored in the paint. This is direct Harden influence. Kevin McHale accentuated his stars’ greatest strengths, instituting a season-long game plan that not only made Harden comfortable, but allowed him to be as productive as humanly possible.

He’s as north/south as it gets, like a no-nonsense running back who never tap dances behind the line of scrimmage. There’s nothing like watching Harden in the open court as he picks up steam between the half-court logo and top of the three-point arc.

Harden absolutely loves contact and he’s fearless from this point on, going all the way to the basket whether you want to stand in his way for a charge or not (this is good and bad, as Harden’s sometimes stubborn mentality was the probable cause for him leading the league in turnovers this season).

But this mindset also afforded him 792 free-throw attempts, which led the entire league. Let’s compare that figure with a few other players when they were 23 years old.

Kobe Bryant attempted 589 free-throws (he’s only passed 792 once, with 819—in two more games than Harden—in 2006), Dwyane Wade attempted 762 (he’d get to 803 the following season), Russell Westbrook attempted 413 (but it was during a lockout shortened season—his career-high is 631), Carmelo Anthony attempted 590 (in 77 games), Jerry West attempted an incredible 926 (and topped out at 977 in 1966), Tracy McGrady attempted 726 (then never came within 100 attempts of 700 for the rest of his career), Michael Jordan attempted a career-best 972, and LeBron James attempted 771 (though he registered an ungodly 821 two years prior).

The sampling of players is random but impressive, as is how generously Harden matches up against them.

Let’s break down the rest of his offensive contribution. Harden attempted the fifth most three-pointers this season, and only Stephen Curry, Ryan Anderson, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, and Damian Lillard made more.

Only LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant scored more than his 2023 total points, only five players averaged more minutes per game, and his scoring average of 25.9 points was more than Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Dwyane Wade.

But what makes Harden more deadly than your typical high volume scorer is his ability to pass. He’s surgical with a high screen when the floor is spread, able to drive and kick after one strong dribble—that’s all it takes for him to make help defenders scurry into the paint—or throw a brilliant pocket pass to a rolling Omer Asik or Greg Smith (nobody throws a pocket pass with the fluidity of James Harden. Nobody).

Also, he’s able to throw the incredibly difficult but increasingly crucial jump skip pass to the weak side corner off pick-and-roll action going the opposite way. This takes strength, intelligence, trust, and, obviously, pin point precision and timing.

What’s not to love about this player? Well, how about the other end of the floor? In assuming all the core responsibilities for a top-10 offense, Harden never had the energy or willingness to defend at even an average level either on or off the ball this entire season.

(Using his work on offense isn’t an excuse to cover up his poor defense, it’s a fact, plain as day.)

He doesn’t slide his feet, get low into proper defensive position or close out with much energy on shoots behind the three-point line. Transitioning from offense to defense was also a problem all year, as Harden’s man would routinely beat him back down the court after he shot it.

In the end, what Harden did/does on the other end outweighs the putridity with how he flails on defense. He finished in the top 15 throughout the league in Usage percentage, PER, Win Shares, and True Shooting percentage.

These are the numbers of a franchise superstar. Harden is only 23 years old, making it all the sweeter that he’s locked up through his prime with the Houston Rockets. The defense should improve (hopefully) once another free agent is added to lessen Harden’s offensive responsibility. As good as this year was, the future looks even better. This is a Hall of Fame talent.

Grade: A-

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Total comments: 115
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    @ thejohnnygold

    this is so crazy sometimes isn't it :rolleyes:I agree with you on the above. however I also agree it would be boring if we all thought alike. believe it or not the lively debate here has changed my view on some subjects....even one's where I was strongly against that view in the beginning. I read some other sites from time to time and agree this forum is a cut above the average in both the posters knowledge of basketball and the ability to discuss these topics without the name calling trash degrading crap that happens in other forums. for that lets be thankful :rolleyes:

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Ha, I just saw that. It's easy to do. We are all discussing a topic we are passionate about--it's hard to keep the emotions separate sometimes.

    This place would be real boring if we all agreed with each other all the time. It's a tight-rope walk to create a space designed for debate and discussion that can remain respectful and civil. I am grateful that we all work together to strive towards that. It's worth it.

    A lot of times, I feel like I'm arguing with this person......

    tumblr_m8prps4x6b1qh01r8o1_500.gif

    It's from the movie, Idiocracy. If anyone hasn't seen it I highly recommend it. Hilarious.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Nonsense...this just means it's somebody else's turn.... :rolleyes:

    JG you might be right......because they just piss me off in the j-lin thread :lol:

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Nonsense...this just means it's somebody else's turn.... :rolleyes:

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    We hope not.

    agreed .......that would take the fun out of it wouldn't it? :lol:

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago


    tumblr_mazalfmGYl1roxf22.gif


    We hope not.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    tumblr_mazalfmGYl1roxf22.gif

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    2016/JG

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    tumblr_mhx5ehOUnF1s37dv8o1_250.gif

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Oh is that what you think I missed? That there's a difference between shooting and scoring? I didn't miss that, I agree there's a difference, I just don't agree that the difference matters much when we're talking about Harden's shooting efficiency being a concern (remember, this all started because you brought up Harden's shot chart and labelled it the biggest concern in Harden's game).

    Anyway, we didn't agree on everything but that's okay, it was a good discussion and we had some good laughs. I love your use of pictures to lighten up the mood, I gotta try that more often. Here's something always makes me laugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEs00gkVo4U


    333bfd0.gif

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago

    Look at Parker's midrange jump shot and see how his drives and his ability to stop on a dime opens up wide open 3s for his teammates. Since Harden is our point guard he needs to have the ability to do this. It's almost becoming a prerequisite.

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    Oh is that what you think I missed? That there's a difference between shooting and scoring? I didn't miss that, I agree there's a difference, I just don't agree that that difference matters when we're talking about Harden's shooting efficiency being a concern.

    Anyway, we didn't agree on everything but that's okay, it was a good discussion and we had some good laughs. I love your use of pictures to lighten up the mood :)


    Scoring is better.
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Oh is that what you think I missed? That there's a difference between shooting and scoring? I didn't miss that, I agree there's a difference, I just don't agree that the difference matters much when we're talking about Harden's shooting efficiency being a concern (remember, this all started because you brought up Harden's shot chart and labelled it the biggest concern in Harden's game).

    Anyway, we didn't agree on everything but that's okay, it was a good discussion and we had some good laughs. I love your use of pictures to lighten up the mood, I gotta try that more often. Here's something always makes me laugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEs00gkVo4U

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    It's all good. I laughed at myself for coming back one more time :lol:

    I can be stubbornly persistent to my own detriment (as if that's gone unnoticed ;) ) .

    To me, there is a difference between shooting and scoring. To make a positive point, Harden is a great, great scorer. Like Kobe, he has a knack for making high difficulty shots--especially in traffic. I think he will absolutely improve next year--maybe not in overall scoring, but in overall effectiveness and efficiency. I imagine we'll see a couple less shots per game but also a bump in his assists. That sounds great to me.

    And this time...

    Ice-cream-KVK-4.gif

    nah......you persistent :lol:say it ain't so :lol:I'm glad you can take a step back and see how funny that was. (IMO) only a big man can laugh at himself. and I don't meanaround the waist line :lol:

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    It's all good. I laughed at myself for coming back one more time :lol:

    I can be stubbornly persistent to my own detriment (as if that's gone unnoticed ;) ) .

    To me, there is a difference between shooting and scoring. To make a positive point, Harden is a great, great scorer. Like Kobe, he has a knack for making high difficulty shots--especially in traffic. I think he will absolutely improve next year--maybe not in overall scoring, but in overall effectiveness and efficiency. I imagine we'll see a couple less shots per game but also a bump in his assists. That sounds great to me.

    And this time...

    Ice-cream-KVK-4.gif

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    @thenit

    they are using different players to discuss it, but make no mistake they are debating the more effective stat. as for harden I have already left my opinion. the only reason I intervened was as a peace maker....not to pour more gas on it. :huh:

  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    I just think we got to a stand still and have different opinions and views. Some are higher on Harden and some are just high on him :)

    Just putting it out there. Harden missed 4 games this season a very small sample size, but we were 1-1 against the clippers

    and we beat the magic and lost a heart breaker against Spurs when Lin had a career high 38.

    I'm just trying to point out that without Harden we would most likely (99%) make the playoffs, but I think we are giving too much credit to one guy to fast. The only remaining starter was Parsons so its hard to say who had more value or not but that all 3 of our new signing were underrated to say at least. Since they all came at the same time its impossible to give a number value on their performances.

    The team including Harden is under construction and this project won't be finished until we used that cap space, thats when we will know which pieces to keep and discard. Harden is a no brainer, but for me personally his D is so suspect and poor that I don't know if we win with him. But there isn't many players that I would say that either.

    One of the few reason is that Harden had an excellent shot blocker in Ibaka covering for him and Perkins as well to mask most of his deficiencies. Omer has done that as well but he can't do it without a real PF.

    Harden's numbers were below his career average but Its due to taking harder shots and more of them so I give him a pass. I just want to see a more complete player next year. And as a last post on this matter as JG said, my grade is still B+ because its a 2 way game.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    just saying I talk to both of you regularly and would hate to see the two of you fall out. the conversation appears headed in the direction of one up man ship.......that usually turns ugly

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    It's just a discussion. I don't think there's any danger of it getting ugly, unless Seinfield gifs are your definition of "getting ugly"?

    tumblr_lkjmsnyDpJ1qh7oieo1_500.gif

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    JG/2016

    you guys are funny :lol:JG when you said I'm officially done, a funny thought popped into my head of someone who keeps saying their done and walking out of the room, then comes back for more because they just can't let it go :lol:you 2 guys have been debating these stats for what 2-3 threads now :lol:with no real end in sight :lol:come on guys. you got to see how funny this is :lol:I'm not laughing at you as much as I'm laughing with you. step aside for a moment and look at it. neither of you will convince the other. stop it b4 it get ugly please.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    And for the record, the answer to your question is player A--they shot 40% and B shot 30%. The betterscorerwould be B as he scored 9 points to A's 8. Understand this and we will understand one another.

    Exactly. And if you can see that player B is the better shooter from that perspective, then you should be able to see why 23 year old Harden is a better shooter than 23 year old Kobe from the same perspective (I understand that there are different things to consider such as "timing" and "ability to make tough shots"--they are accounted for with my personal idea of how much weight they should hold in the grand picture).

    Judging by the rest of your post, I guess there are things you and nit said that I missed, so I will put "re-read the James Harden thread" on my to-do list.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Like my previous post said--I'm done with this. If you can't see that I understand points per shot, and the value of free throws, and all the lot--especially after having conversed with me throughout the past few months--then what else can I do? You keep explaining it to me like I don't. Do you really believe that?

    In the meantime, you steadfastly turn a blind eye to the undeniable facts I, and thenit, have put forward. It's moved past frustrating to silly. There is no more that can be said--perhaps re-reading this thread would help, but probably not.

    Try this, take away point value and examine Harden's shooting in a vacuum--no variables. Solely look at his makes and misses--each simply counts as 1--then tell me how consistent of a shooter Harden is. Also, when playing 1 on 1 each shot should count for 1 (even threes)--it's fairer that way.

    And for the record, the answer to your question is player A--they shot 40% and B shot 30%. The better scorer would be B as he scored 9 points to A's 8. Understand this and we will understand one another.

    OK, now I'm officially done.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm not really sure what you're talking about, but to play along with your joke about Harden in pick-up games, I usually play by ones and twos rather than twos and threes so Harden would be even more efficient by those regulations.

    Advanced stats do not make you a better shooter--they just give you more credit for scoring within the confines of NBA regulations.

    Yeah, I don't understand what you're saying there at all.To get us on the same page, let me present to you a hypothetical question:

    Player A makes 4 out of 10 shots. All shots were long 2's.

    Player B makes 3 out 10 shots. All shots were 3's.

    Who is the better shooter?

    I think the reason why you think we're talking about different things is because you don't seem to agree thatit's not only about how many shots you make, but also the quality of the shots you make. If you disagree that's fine, but I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same thing with different perspectives (although we sidetracked a little with the whole discussion of Kobe's ability to hit clutch shots).

    I guess I shouldn't insinuate that you're looking at it the wrong way, we simply have different values and there's nothing wrong with that.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    "the right way"? Since this was a concern I brought up, and I repeatedly and directly have focused on field goal% and actual shooting versus scoring wouldn't that mean it's still the wrong way? I agree with the advanced stats--have never said anything different. Advanced stats do not make you a better shooter--they just give you more credit for scoring within the confines of NBA regulations. <--that last part is important.

    I'll say this, I bet Harden doesn't win much in street-ball where there are no refs to facilitate his scoring....unless he's one of those punks who calls fouls every time he misses... <_< I bet when he plays "21" he's the guy cherry-picking rebounds while the other guy actually tries to play defense. :rolleyes: I bet when he plays HORSE he makes the other guy shoot "lefty" the whole time just to match him... :lol:

    I'm being silly. :P...But seriously, we're obviously determined to not discuss the same things so I think I'm done.

    seinfeld.gif

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    And in case anyone was wondering.

    James Harden age 23 eFG% = .504

    Kobe Bryant age 23 eFG% = .483

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Field goal percentage can be a misleading stat. Let me give you an example:

    In game 2 of the playoff series against OKC, Harden shot 9-24 from the field (37.5%), which anyone here would conclude is a poor shooting performance. However, he also went to the line 20 times (making 17). We all know fouls don't count as shot attempts, but with a free throw shooter as good as Harden, they are a ridiculously efficient scoring method. If you take the 20 free throws and turn them into shot attempts, then Harden attempted an additional 10 shots and made 8.5 of them. That puts Harden at a much more respectable 17.5 for 34 from the field (over 50%).

    You also have to take into account 3 pointers, which are treated just like 2 pointers when it comes to field goal percentage but reward 50% more points than a 2 pointer. To show the added value, you just award half of a made shot for each successful 3 pointer. In that game against OKC, Harden went 1-7 from the 3 point line, so his 17.5 made field goals becomes 18. Harden effectively ended that game 18 for 34 (53%).

    Harden's ability to hit 3's and get to the foul line make him a much more efficient basketball player than the standard box score will show.

    It's good that you're looking at it the right way.

    As I said earlier (which I think is a more simpler way of putting it):3's are worth more than 2's. For example45% midrange is the same thing as a 30% 3-pt. And 50% midrange (very, very rare) is the same thing as a 33.3% 3pt (very common).

    A better statistic than FG% to gauge scoring efficiency by is eFG% (it accounts for the fact that 3's are worth more than 2's) or TS% (the same thing as eFG% but accounts for free throws too). Both these stats can be found at basketball-reference.com or espn.com/nba or nba.com

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    I won't disagree with that--Kobe is going to shoot whether you like it or not....which is part of the yin and yang that makes him so great.

    I don't know how much I can read into that Phil quote...even going to the article it seems like a small part of a bigger statement that might be out of context. Besides, I've never liked the Kobe/MJ comparisons...they're fun for fans, but it really is apples and oranges. It's like the batman vs. superman debate :D They're both awesome!

    I agree both were/are supreme talents. I watched both their entire careers. kobe was/is the the better clutch shot maker to me. nobody is saying Jordan wasn't pretty dam good too, but kobe at the end of a close game strikes more fear into me than Jordan did. from just watching them Jordan was more drive to the basket in the beginning of his career. his jumper really improved over time. that's why he took so many beating at the hands of the bad boy pistons. his jumper really became deadly after his return from retirement the 1st time. on the other hand kobe had a deadly jumper right from the beginning. something else that makes me pick kobe over Jordan.........all stars get superstar calls....that's just a fact of life. however the level of respect Jordan use to get was.........well let me say it like this.........magic, bird and Jordan did a commercial once that required the three of them to pose for a picture together. as they came together magic said to bird " don't get to close to Jordan you know that's a foul :lol:..........a perfect example....remember the last championship Chicago had playing Utah? where Jordan pushed the Utah defender bryran russeldang near into the stands to take the game winning shot? Jordan use to get those type of calls all the time. Jordan may have been the most hyped player commercially of all time, but in MY greatest talent to ever play the game point of view comes up lacking in a few areas

  • LashtonBryth says 1 YEAR ago

    LashtonBryth : You are right on all your points. An overall perception of Harden's stats and advanced metrics put him in the top 10 echelon on most categories.

    In terms of injuries, most players do have nagging ankle or other injuries during a long season. Also he doesn't have a partner in crime next to him at all star level.

    What I'm alluding to is that he is inconsistent, where he is shooting below 40% on 40% of the games and most of those games are way below that mark. So its almost like every other night he will have an off night and the next one he will make it up by shooting like 60+ %.

    I'm not saying that he should be a robot and be automatic 40% or higher every night, but its kind of feast or famine.

    Most nights he will get 20+ points because of his FTs but if you go 4 for 16 you aren't helping the team on a lot of nights. We all know Harden ceilings is in potential realm of GOAT SG's and scorers, but we need him to maybe have an off night every 5th game or less. Like I said in an earlier post he is young but you can't forget that he's basically the same age as KD. And you can see how consistent he is. I just want Harden to eventually elevate to that level in the coming years. I think and believe that he has all the tools to do that.

    Field goal percentage can be a misleading stat. Let me give you an example:

    In game 2 of the playoff series against OKC, Harden shot 9-24 from the field (37.5%), which anyone here would conclude is a poor shooting performance. However, he also went to the line 20 times (making 17). We all know fouls don't count as shot attempts, but with a free throw shooter as good as Harden, they are a ridiculously efficient scoring method. If you take the 20 free throws and turn them into shot attempts, then Harden attempted an additional 10 shots and made 8.5 of them. That puts Harden at a much more respectable 17.5 for 34 from the field (over 50%).

    You also have to take into account 3 pointers, which are treated just like 2 pointers when it comes to field goal percentage but reward 50% more points than a 2 pointer. To show the added value, you just award half of a made shot for each successful 3 pointer. In that game against OKC, Harden went 1-7 from the 3 point line, so his 17.5 made field goals becomes 18. Harden effectively ended that game 18 for 34 (53%).

    Harden's ability to hit 3's and get to the foul line make him a much more efficient basketball player than the standard box score will show.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I would agree with you if it was Skip Bayless'sobservationwe're talking about. It's perfectly understandable though, how much weight you hold in something Phil Jackson writes in a book is completely up to you. I personally don't think he's that desperate to sell copies, but that's just me.

    And I'm assuming you were joking about gds being an abbreviation for "gosh darn shooters". Your sense of humor is amusing :)

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Or guards.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I don't like the Phil quote because it is a snippet of a quote from a snippet of a quote in an article designed to drive internet traffic taken from a book I haven't read. There is just no context and, to me, that diminishes Phil's words--never trust the media to regard truth/context as important. That same article went on to add this from Phil: "Listen friends of bball; don't get hung up on words," Jackson tweeted. "I was most fortunate to have the chance to coach two of the greatest gds. EVER MJ/Kobe" (my guess is gds stands for Gosh Darn Shooters...but I have no idea.)

    I've never really seen much tape on West, but I know he is well respected.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I don't really see how what Phil said can't be taken how it's read. The article is about MJ vs Kobe, but does that make his the observations of Kobe's game any less true?

    Anyway, I've always thought Jerry West was a better comparison, and people might see that as an insult but it's really not. The only reason Jerry didn't win a MVP is the same reason many didn't during his time--Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain practically made it impossible for anyone else to win. He was the best shooting guard of all time until Jordan game along, they didn't call him "Mr. Clutch" and make the NBA logo out of hissilhouettefor nothing.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I won't disagree with that--Kobe is going to shoot whether you like it or not....which is part of the yin and yang that makes him so great.

    I don't know how much I can read into that Phil quote...even going to the article it seems like a small part of a bigger statement that might be out of context. Besides, I've never liked the Kobe/MJ comparisons...they're fun for fans, but it really is apples and oranges. It's like the batman vs. superman debate :D They're both awesome!

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Yeah, I appreciate seeing things from different perspectives. I believe that the more information there is the better, regardless of whether or not that information comes from stats or reports from eye-witnesses.

    Kobe isdefinitelya good "tough-shot" maker, and you have added alot of great stuff to the discussion that reinforces that belief. I still wonder though, how many times has Kobe shot his team to the point where a game winner was needed? I feel like I've seen it happen many times, Lakers are up 10 and Kobe hero balls until his team is down before hitting some big shots to win the game. Everyone becomes so happy he saved the day that they forget he was part of the problem.

    Here's something Phil Jackson said that sort of echos what I've noticed:

    Kobe tends to force the action, especially when the game isn't going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9285372/phil-jackson-compares-michael-jordan-kobe-bryant-book

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I found some more stuff....couldn't resist....

    First, from 82games.com (where you got some of your info as well) with a few paragraphs included...

    cluth%20shots.JPG

    Next, I got this little chart that has Bryant ranked #1 for "08-'09 by 82games.com

    Then I also got the same thing for '11-'12 here. On this one Bryant dipped down to 8th place, but then I looked at the +/- numbers...check out Kobe's numbers. I agree the fg% is nothing to write home about, but clearly there was some strong team defense being played as well because the +/- is very good.

    And for the record, I like your posts just fine (I'm pretty sure everyone does)--except when they prove me wrong :P . I think the point was to pat someone on the back for doing a good job. I think everyone is encouraged to contribute no matter how they feel comfortable doing it (unless that involves dropping f-bombs and hurling insults, of course). If we were to rely solely on stats the conversation would dry up pretty fast. :)

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Not everyone can contribute in such a framed and articulate manner, we weren't all blessed with a silver tongue. As long as we all do whatever we can to bring something different to the discussion then that's good enough imo.

  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm sorry, but the standards you guys have for players is ridiculous. Harden shot 44% from the field, 37% on 3-pointers, and 85% from the line while leading the league in free throws and there are several people here worried about his shooting ability?

    1. He was playing on a hurt foot the entire second half of the season. It was obvious watching him that he didn't have the same explosion and lift as he did before the All-Star break, but to his credit he continued to play. His shooting percentages after March were terrible because he was hurt, not because he forgot how to shoot. He shot 49% from the field his last season with OKC.

    2. Harden also played the 6th most minutes, which obviously also wore him down. After shooting 53% in the month of March, he finished the year shooting 38.9% and 39% in April and May.

    3. Other teams game-planned for him. What should excite this forum the most is how effective Harden was while hurt, tired, and being the sole focus of the other team's defense. He doesn't have a Westbrook or a Wade and Bosh. Kevin Durant just shot 42% in a series against the Grizzlies after shooting over 50% for the season because shots are harder to come by when you are the sole focus of the other teams game plan. The test is if you can function when all the attention is on you, and Harden proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can. Any addition to this team in the form of an additional star player will only make Harden better.

    4. His defense is a valid concern, and I'm speaking mostly to the mental errors he frequently made (losing his man, being out of position, etc.). The reaching on defense and general laziness could be the result of being tired and hurt, and bringing in another star player to take the playmaking out of his hands and allowing him to sit more minutes will keep him fresh on both ends.

    5. Kevin Martin stopped getting fouls called for him because he flopped taking jump-shots. That is completely different from Harden, who drives looking for contact. He gets his arms slapped routinely on drives because of how he holds the ball out, and he searches out the contact by running into them. I'd actually argue that the refs missed more calls on drives he was fouled than Harden stole by embellishing contact. I'd certainly argue that there is any possible rule change that would change how he is reffed.

    Guys, he's the real thing. He is a super-star that makes other players better, and there are very few of them in the NBA. It's okay to be happy about it.

    I just want to thank you for a thoughtful and respectful response to some of the debate going on here about James Harden. Welcome to Red94 and I hope you enjoy the forum. I must say that I really appreciate your response not so much because I agree with you but because you framed your argument in a respectful and constructive manner and for that I thank you. We all, myself included, should take this example and remember that sometimes the most effective voice is not the loudest or the one with the most statistics.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Only goes back to 2007? Ha, yeah, let's ignore the entire first half of his career--he only won three titles in that span--nothing to see there. :P

    You can think what you like about Kobe. I'll do the same. Bottom line is making shots at the end of games is crucial to overall team success....pretty sure we have hundreds of posts about this very thing discussing our own problems with that this past season.

    ...and there's a reason Kobe has taken more "clutch" shots than anyone else...

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Here is a video that has some of his clutch shots from this year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOU4M-Nbk_4

    And this next one is a compilation of all of Kobe's game winners as of May, 2011--28 total.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LTuNfOk4us

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Good stuff. I did a little research too and this is what I found:

    82games.com defines clutch as the 4th quarter or overtime, less than five minutes left, and neither team up by more than five points. According to their clutch statistics (which the started tracking since 2007) Kobe has ranged from poor to good, but even his best clutch years weren't anything to go home bragging to mom about. Fact is, he simply takes a ton of shots, and that's why there are so many highlights of him making clutch shots, but he has missed far more than he has made.

    Also, this is something I pulled off a website that echos something I said earlier:

    708jdy.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MQQV40cZ_A

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKZpB3Lgy2o

  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    LashtonBryth : You are right on all your points. An overall perception of Harden's stats and advanced metrics put him in the top 10 echelon on most categories.

    In terms of injuries, most players do have nagging ankle or other injuries during a long season. Also he doesn't have a partner in crime next to him at all star level.

    What I'm alluding to is that he is inconsistent, where he is shooting below 40% on 40% of the games and most of those games are way below that mark. So its almost like every other night he will have an off night and the next one he will make it up by shooting like 60+ %.

    I'm not saying that he should be a robot and be automatic 40% or higher every night, but its kind of feast or famine.

    Most nights he will get 20+ points because of his FTs but if you go 4 for 16 you aren't helping the team on a lot of nights. We all know Harden ceilings is in potential realm of GOAT SG's and scorers, but we need him to maybe have an off night every 5th game or less. Like I said in an earlier post he is young but you can't forget that he's basically the same age as KD. And you can see how consistent he is. I just want Harden to eventually elevate to that level in the coming years. I think and believe that he has all the tools to do that.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    First, LashtonBryth, you are right. I am guilty of being hard on him. Your points are all valid and well received. James still had 17 sub-standard (sub 40%) shooting games prior to the all-star game, but your other points about not having help hold water. I'm not saying to get rid of the bum; rather, I am simply voicing a concern about a pattern I see. I agree that this should improve for various reasons over the next season or two--especially if we can get him a 2nd star.

    RBF--I love when we agree! :)

    2016--I suppose you're right that I should have some validation for my stance. I'll see what I can find...

    http://www.nba.com/video/games/lakers/2013/03/09/0021200925-tor-lal-play7.nba

    The above video was with this article about how well Kobe played this year.

    Here's a quote from a 2009 article:

    "In a 2009 Sports Illustrated poll, 76 percent of NBA players chose him as the player they'd want to take the last shot with the game on the line."

    Funny enough, the rest of that article goes on to analyze his shooting in the clutch and attempts to debunk his clutch-ness. Ask me if I am going to take the word of his peers or a stats geek and I will tell you, "his peers".

    Here's almost 8 minutes worth of Kobe doing nothing but making clutch shots:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfHsmcG7rjY

    I think one of the greatest things about that video is the number of ways he scores. He's not spotting up, like Ray Allen say, and knocking down open looks from three--he does it every which way imaginable.

    I'll leave it at that for now--if I feel like it later I will find some more.

    Thanks for the support, Steven, but for this one finding evidence is easy.

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    That's not good enough, this is a matter where some form of tangible evidence should exist so we need to do better than "I watch basketball games". Who does the burden of proof fall on, you or me?


    IMHO, you. When its accepted by most, the one with "minority" opinion has to be the one to prove that the majority is wrong.
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Yes, if you only look at the last 24 seconds it tells one story. I've been watching Kobe his whole career and I don't need stats to know he is a killer in the last few minutes of a game. Does he do it every game? Nope. Still, there aren't a lot of other people I'd rather have on my team going into crunch time knowing we are going to need 3-5 baskets to seal the win--even now....well, pre-achilles injury.

    You're right, two points is two points. Still, timing is crucial. Blowouts are the exception, not the rule, in the NBA and more often than not your team will be in a relatively close game with a few minutes left in the 4th. Execution down the stretch is key.

    That's not good enough, this is a matter where some form of tangible evidence should exist so we need to do better than "I watch basketball games". Who does the burden of proof fall on, you or me?

  • LashtonBryth says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm sorry, but the standards you guys have for players is ridiculous. Harden shot 44% from the field, 37% on 3-pointers, and 85% from the line while leading the league in free throws and there are several people here worried about his shooting ability?

    1. He was playing on a hurt foot the entire second half of the season. It was obvious watching him that he didn't have the same explosion and lift as he did before the All-Star break, but to his credit he continued to play. His shooting percentages after March were terrible because he was hurt, not because he forgot how to shoot. He shot 49% from the field his last season with OKC.

    2. Harden also played the 6th most minutes, which obviously also wore him down. After shooting 53% in the month of March, he finished the year shooting 38.9% and 39% in April and May.

    3. Other teams game-planned for him. What should excite this forum the most is how effective Harden was while hurt, tired, and being the sole focus of the other team's defense. He doesn't have a Westbrook or a Wade and Bosh. Kevin Durant just shot 42% in a series against the Grizzlies after shooting over 50% for the season because shots are harder to come by when you are the sole focus of the other teams game plan. The test is if you can function when all the attention is on you, and Harden proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can. Any addition to this team in the form of an additional star player will only make Harden better.

    4. His defense is a valid concern, and I'm speaking mostly to the mental errors he frequently made (losing his man, being out of position, etc.). The reaching on defense and general laziness could be the result of being tired and hurt, and bringing in another star player to take the playmaking out of his hands and allowing him to sit more minutes will keep him fresh on both ends.

    5. Kevin Martin stopped getting fouls called for him because he flopped taking jump-shots. That is completely different from Harden, who drives looking for contact. He gets his arms slapped routinely on drives because of how he holds the ball out, and he searches out the contact by running into them. I'd actually argue that the refs missed more calls on drives he was fouled than Harden stole by embellishing contact. I'd certainly argue that there is any possible rule change that would change how he is reffed.

    Guys, he's the real thing. He is a super-star that makes other players better, and there are very few of them in the NBA. It's okay to be happy about it.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Yes, if you only look at the last 24 seconds it tells one story. I've been watching Kobe his whole career and I don't need stats to know he is a killer in the last few minutes of a game. Does he do it every game? Nope. Still, there aren't a lot of other people I'd rather have on my team going into crunch time knowing we are going to need 3-5 baskets to seal the win--even now....well, pre-achilles injury.

    You're right, two points is two points. Still, timing is crucial. Blowouts are the exception, not the rule, in the NBA and more often than not your team will be in a relatively close game with a few minutes left in the 4th. Execution down the stretch is key.

    totally agree with you on this. kobe didn't get the nickname black mamba for nothing. down by 1 with 5 seconds on the clock there is NO ONE in basketball I would rather have taking the shot. sure he's older now, but still very deadly. 2016 I disagree......when you score does matter.....perfect example.......kevin martin........kevin martin can score 20 pts. a game every night. he's just not going to score any of them in the last 5 minutes consistently. this is why he has never reached superstar status.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Yes, if you only look at the last 24 seconds it tells one story. I've been watching Kobe his whole career and I don't need stats to know he is a killer in the last few minutes of a game. Does he do it every game? Nope. Still, there aren't a lot of other people I'd rather have on my team going into crunch time knowing we are going to need 3-5 baskets to seal the win--even now....well, pre-achilles injury.

    You're right, two points is two points. Still, timing is crucial. Blowouts are the exception, not the rule, in the NBA and more often than not your team will be in a relatively close game with a few minutes left in the 4th. Execution down the stretch is key.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I think the whole talk about "timing" is overrated. Two points in the 1st quarter is worth just as much as two points in the 4th quarter. And Kobe's reputation of being "clutch" precedes him, people remember the makes but never remember the misses.

    Bryant's entire career, regular season and playoffs -- and found that Bryant has attempted 115 shots in the final 24 seconds of a game in which the Lakers were tied or trailed by two or fewer points. He connected on 36, and missed 79 times.

    -ESPN Stats & Information's Alok Pattani dug through 15 years of NBA data

    And check out this short piece by Henry Abbott:http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

    And I'll cap it off with a youtube video and run before everyone reading this goes to grab their torch or pitchfork. How dare I defy common belief.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdIEgO2PUqE

  • Cooper says 1 YEAR ago The good thing about harden is shooting is probably his main fault offensively along with maybe getting a wild with some passes, is that these are probably the easiest things to get better at just spend some time on it.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    you gave harden an INC for the year in you first post in this thread. that's how this discussion started. you said you wanted to wait till next year. that the jury was still out. I gave harden an A right from the beginning. I understand all of the concerns you list. however I don't need to see next year in order to grade this year. if he fails to improve his grade will be lower next year. another A next year will be harder to receive because expectations will be higher.

    Yeah, I amended it later because I realized that this thread was dealing directly with this year and gave him an A--in that same post I said the same as you that next year's grade will be tougher as expectations rise. I think we more or less agree on Mr. Harden despite doing it in different fashions.

    As for more shooting stats and Kobe comparisons....I just don't know. I think something that is often left unaccounted for is timing. Kobe is considered so great not for the shots he made, but when he made them. Same for Jordan. Nobody remembers the 2nd quarter lay-up, or 1st quarter 25 footer that swishes through the net. For years, in the last 2-3 minutes of a tight game there was nobody you wanted to see less on the other team than Kobe. He may have gone 2-14 up to that point...and then finishes 3-3 to seal the victory. So, to blindly look at those shooting numbers now without the context skews their importance to each game.

    I think it is one of the most under-rated skills a player can have--timing. Baron Davis (when he gave a crap) had it. Tim Hardaway had it. Reggie Miller had tons of it. Mario Elie. Robert Horry. Olajuwon had it as well. It's not "can you do it"...it's "can you do it right now?" Those guys could.

    I'm not saying Kobe was one of the greatest shooters of all time (although I do think it could be argued....at times, it was like he was bored with regular shots and would increase difficulty levels just to make it interesting for himself...how many times has he taken, and made, crazy turn-around, fall-away 20 ft. jumpers with a hand in his face?)...back to the point, not one of the greatest shooters of all time, but one of the greatest gamers of all time--I say yes. I think it is this quality that draws so many comparisons to Jordan--that and the ring count and they play the same position.

    This is something Harden lacked most of last year and will need to improve on if he wants to climb up to Kobe's level. Harden made, what, 2 memorable late-game shots (I know you're all thinking about that SA game right now :))? That's fine. I'm not chiding him for that--there is time to get better and those moments were valuable lessons.

    And thank you, thenit, for getting the game logs out and posting those--that is exactly what I am talking about--no more, no less--and like all of you I think we will be fine moving forward. Still, it was something that concerned me--even moreso than his defense as I have to believe the coaches will not let that persist.

    So, I'm staying old-school on this one. I love Harden's advanced metrics and the like, but I also want some good old fashioned put the brown thing in the round thing basketball.

  • RollingWave says 1 YEAR ago

    Kobe's overrated in the sense that his total scoring number have people seeing him as an all time great (like on par with MJ) but the reality is that he's more like the next tier, which is hardly anything to sneeze at either.

    Harden this year was a little better than 23 year old Kobe yes, though the difference is very marginal at best. I don't see him having Kobe level of endurance though, because that's really once in a generation thing.

    if I have to take a bet, I would take the under of Harden surpassing Kobe in terms of career, because uhhh the guy is #4 all time in scoring, I'd take the under on every damn NBA player in the league right now except mayyyybe Lebron and Durant, to fall short of that (and I think the odds of both falling short is much MUCH larger than the odds of both passing.)

    Let us not get overboard here, Kobe is overrated in a sense, but that sense would only apply to folks thinking him on par with Jordan, which isn't saying much. Harden's had a great great year, but anyone with any sense of history in any major sport will tell you that you should never ever bet on a 23/24 year old to be a all time great.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    BTW his turnovers wasn't great either especially since he became our PG by having the ball in his hands.

    Kobe has always been overrated and takes too many bad shots like those fade aways 3s and long 2s. But at his prime he wasn't the best defender but he was at least a great leader who took ownership of guarding the best wing players on the opposing team. So even when he struggles he at least keeps his opponent in bay. Harden doesn't do this, all he basically guards is the worst wing player who usually is the spot up man and he still doesn't do a decent job.

    Only the future will tell if Harden will do that in the end because he is even more athletic than Kobe IMO so he has the tools. Its will he be a Kobe or Wade, or a Melo ? Imagine how bad his defensive numbers would be if Asik didn't bail him out each and everytime Big O is there?

    Like in the Asik grading post, he is our MVP, not the best but most important player.

    I agree that Kobe is overrated.

    23 year old Harden > 23 year old Kobe

  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I am not sure test taking is the best analogy but I do understand your point and it is a good one. To me basketball is a team game (unlike taking tests) and it's pretty clear what Harden did to elevate this team. On the flip side there are some nice pieces on the roster but Harden has no real number 2 to help him carry the load he has taken on (you could argue Asik). Harden is a superstar and he is here to stay, any Rocket fan can be excited about that I am certain. It is probably a better analogy if we were to say that this class would have failed the semester were it not for Harden joining the class and helping every student achieve much more than if he hadn't been here. For elevating the team and the players he at least deserves some kind of A.

    Like I wrote before.

    James Harden: A
  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    Lol ok forgot to say that he is coming into his 5th year, so we need to nip it in the bud before its become a habit of not playing D. Its easier to change a young player than an old player.

    Thats all folks

  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    Just so people don't say I'm a Harden Hater, I absolutely love him that he is on our team, but we can't be blind or look the other way. We will see what happens next season, and maybe we can get a decent backup for him and another start to share the load.

    It's just that I have high hopes for him and like some people you are hard on your kids because you expect and wish that they become the best that they can be and not waste their talent. For me he is not a rookie, he's been in this league for four years now and defence needs to be adressed before its too late. Maybe I'm a cynic and in my nightmare he becomes a JR Smith or Melo who shoots a bunch and great offence but lacks D and looks good on the highlight reel but never really amounts to winning a championship.

    So this is the last post guys sorry for ranting

  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    BTW his turnovers wasn't great either especially since he became our PG by having the ball in his hands.

    By the way JD, you might want to take a look at Kobe's eFG%http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html

    If Harden's shooting was a concern this season, Kobe's career shooting should be an even bigger concern and yet people are saying he's a top 10 player of all time.

    Once again, I share your concern so I'm not trying to be narrow minded here. I'm just not sure if it's the biggest concern.

    Kobe has always been overrated and takes too many bad shots like those fade aways 3s and long 2s. But at his prime he wasn't the best defender but he was at least a great leader who took ownership of guarding the best wing players on the opposing team. So even when he struggles he at least keeps his opponent in bay. Harden doesn't do this, all he basically guards is the worst wing player who usually is the spot up man and he still doesn't do a decent job.

    Only the future will tell if Harden will do that in the end because he is even more athletic than Kobe IMO so he has the tools. Its will he be a Kobe or Wade, or a Melo ? Imagine how bad his defensive numbers would be if Asik didn't bail him out each and everytime Big O is there?

    Like in the Asik grading post, he is our MVP, not the best but most important player.

  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago

    Ok I've been trying to stay off the forum during Houston off-season until FA starts, but I have followed the forum.

    I agree with JG's assesment of Harden. Most people seems to give Harden too many excuses and quoting stats. While most of his stats are very impressive, and can display a lot of his greatness, the game logs gives a different view of Mr Harden.

    DATE OPP SCORE MIN FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% REB AST BLK STL PF TO PTS Fri 5/3 L 94-103 43 7-22 .318 4-10 .400 8-11 .727 6 7 2 2 1 4 26 Wed 5/1 W 107-100 42 10-16 .625 7-9 .778 4-5 .800 8 3 1 1 2 3 31 Mon 4/29 W 105-103 35 4-12 .333 0-4 .000 7-8 .875 1 3 1 5 5 10 15 Sat 4/27 L 101-104 44 9-22 .409 2-8 .250 10-15 .667 8 6 2 2 4 2 30 Wed 4/24 L 102-105 45 9-24 .375 1-7 .143 17-20 .850 11 6 0 1 3 6 36 Sun 4/21 L 91-120 34 6-19 .316 1-6 .167 7-7 1.000 6 2 0 1 3 2 20 Conference Quarterfinals 40.5 7.5-19.2 .391 2.5-7.3 .341 8.8-11.0 .803 6.7 4.5 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.5 26.3 POSTSEASON STATS MIN FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% REB AST BLK STL PF TO PTS Averages 40.5 7.5-19.2 .391 2.5-7.3 .341 8.8-11.0 .803 6.7 4.5 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.5 26.3 Totals 243 45-115 .391 15-44 .341 53-66 .803 40 27 6 12 18 27 158

    One look at the playoff series. 6-19 , 9-24, 9-22, 10-16, 7-22, 4-12, Those are the fg attempts and made.

    4 out of 6 games he shot under 40%. While the overall average is decent, there are too many games when he shoots under 33%. He still got his 26 ppg in the series due to his FT which are important but as a shooter and finisher he wasn't that great. And if you take off his hot night when he was 10 for 16 he was during the other games which was 35 for 99 which is 35%.

    I forgot the stats and too tired to looked at the complete game logs. But on a quick scan he had 13 games where he shot under 30% out of 78 games which is roughly 17% of the games. So your are looking at almost 1 out of 5 games he is shooting under 30 %.

    Under 40 % the game total is 31 games out of 78 games. = 39.7% round it up to 40 % so basically 2 out 5 games he shoots under 40 %.

    If harden just shoots under 40% its not terrible because he gets on the line but most of those games he is in the mid 30s or below. But you have to consider that out of a full season schedule this is 32 games when he struggles. And for someone who doesn't contribute to defence its kind of hard to have your go to guy shoot poorly and play no D to win especially when Harden is our best player by far.

    Sorry for cluttered post, but I just put it up quickly. I would give Harden an A for exceeding our expectations but an overall grade of B+ because when you don't play defence and you struggle about 40% of the games where you shoot below 40% and dont stop your opponent its kind of hard to give an A. It's like giving a student an A when he is a great test taker, but can't put up a decent paper, because you need to do both to earn that illusive A where you almost had a perfect season. His D is just too poor to deserve an A even though he ace it on one side of the court.

    He is a potential Superstar, but right now he is just a offensive star, not a superstar player.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    By the way JD, you might want to take a look at Kobe's eFG%http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html

    If Harden's shooting was a concern this season, Kobe's career shooting should be an even bigger concern and yet people are saying he's a top 10 player of all time.

    Once again, I share your concern so I'm not trying to be narrow minded here. I'm just not sure if it's the biggest concern.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    I think the poor old fashion FG% was at first the adjustment phase and later as the season progressed he was just running out of gas with that middle period probably the truest barometer. Of course anyone has the right to critique Harden in whatever manner they see fit but in my opinion there is enough of that that I do not really need to. If I was in a room with 3 Rocket fans that only praised Harden I would have to point out his flaws but that is definitely not the case here in the forum. To me Harden has arrived here in Houston and put us back on the map. Sure you have those Rocket diehards that rave about Parsons and yearn for Lin to get more credit but in my opinion this show goes on no matter who is on this roster playing along with Harden, he is this franchise going forward. Thank the basketball gods we got our superstar.

    James Harden: A

    at the risk of upsetting some I totally agree :lol:if you subtract harden from this team how many games do we win? do we go to the playoffs? do we have a chance to be in the conversation to acquire players like D-12? would we be the envy of about 25 other teams in the league? fact is harden's acquisition made all of this possible. why does the future look so bright I may need some shades? B) I think I may have been a little harsh on harden his first year......I now give him an A+

  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I think the poor old fashion FG% was at first the adjustment phase and later as the season progressed he was just running out of gas with that middle period probably the truest barometer. Of course anyone has the right to critique Harden in whatever manner they see fit but in my opinion there is enough of that that I do not really need to. If I was in a room with 3 Rocket fans that only praised Harden I would have to point out his flaws but that is definitely not the case here in the forum. To me Harden has arrived here in Houston and put us back on the map. Sure you have those Rocket diehards that rave about Parsons and yearn for Lin to get more credit but in my opinion this show goes on no matter who is on this roster playing along with Harden, he is this franchise going forward. Thank the basketball gods we got our superstar.

    James Harden: A
  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    2016, for being "open-minded" you are maintaining a narrow scope here. I know what the stats are. Thank you for sharing.

    Let's step away from numbers altogether. If you think Harden is a great shooter then so be it. I do not. There is a difference between scoring and shooting.

    Lebron used to be a scorer only and has transformed himself into an excellent shooter as well (my hope for Harden). Durant is an excellent shooter. JJ Redick. Richard Hamilton. Going back, Larry Bird comes to mind. Jeff Hornacek. This is what I am talking about. Anything else is outside the realm of my concern.

    You misunderstand me, I too am concerned about Harden's shooting, I'm just saying it's not my biggest concern. Lets take a closer look at his shooting:

    Pick and roll handling 3's: 39.5% -- 346 attempts

    Spot up 3's: 39.1% -- 128 attempts

    Isolation 3's: 31% -- 417 atttempts

    The problem is that he takes too many iso 3's (I could care less about his mid-range, I'm a believer of the Rockets philosophy that mid-range shots should be avoided all together).

    So in other words, his poor shooting this season is more a product of too many isos. Here's my top two concerns:

    1. Poor defense

    2. Too many isos

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Sorry, that response was for 2016...I should keep the quoted text in my responses....I don't get it...I gave Harden an A for the year. Judging from the lack of support from the peanut gallery I am truly alone on this one. I just think Harden was way too inconsistent (regardless of context) to ignore. I think if he were on another team, and we were in need of a SG, his shooting performances would come under much greater scrutiny.

    you gave harden an INC for the year in you first post in this thread. that's how this discussion started. you said you wanted to wait till next year. that the jury was still out. I gave harden an A right from the beginning. I understand all of the concerns you list. however I don't need to see next year in order to grade this year. if he fails to improve his grade will be lower next year. another A next year will be harder to receive because expectations will be higher.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I agree TJG. But I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect Bosh/Curry levels. But he needs to have some sort of jumper from midrange to make teams respect it.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    oh I have already given up trying to change your mind :lol:you have your opinion and I respect that. however I'm a little more forgiving on harden this year. like I said b4 if there is no improvement next year then I'll be concerned.

    Sorry, that response was for 2016...I should keep the quoted text in my responses....I don't get it...I gave Harden an A for the year. Judging from the lack of support from the peanut gallery I am truly alone on this one. I just think Harden was way too inconsistent (regardless of context) to ignore. I think if he were on another team, and we were in need of a SG, his shooting performances would come under much greater scrutiny.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    2016, for being "open-minded" you are maintaining a narrow scope here. I know what the stats are. Thank you for sharing.

    Let's step away from numbers altogether. If you think Harden is a great shooter then so be it. I do not. There is a difference between scoring and shooting.

    Lebron used to be a scorer only and has transformed himself into an excellent shooter as well (my hope for Harden). Durant is an excellent shooter. JJ Redick. Richard Hamilton. Going back, Larry Bird comes to mind. Jeff Hornacek. This is what I am talking about. Anything else is outside the realm of my concern.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Yup, and I keep trying to steer you away from the pps viewpoint. I get it. If you want to keep bringing it up like I don't you can, but it's beating a dead horse as I have acknowledged it the whole time. I am ONLY talking pure fg% with Harden. I am talking about game by game, if you take away those free throws, the shine comes off reeeeaaaaal fast. That's it.

    Look at his game logs (I'm sure you have, but look again). Even Tyreke Evans thinks that's wildly inconsistent...

    oh I have already given up trying to change your mind :lol:you have your opinion and I respect that. however I'm a little more forgiving on harden this year. like I said b4 if there is no improvement next year then I'll be concerned.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    the thing is blake was in his role last year and had minimal gains this year. harden was just receiving this role this year and had the largest point gain in scoring average in the nba this year. that gets him a better grade to me

    Like I have said all along--I accept every reason for Harden's struggles. I gave him an "A" myself. I still have my concerns before I start putting him up too high on a pedestal (not implying you are, but there are a few posts around here that do). As much as I hate to say it, Harden could just as easily veer off into Tyreke/Monta Land. I think he can be great, but he's got to make some adjustments/improvements to get there and, like the rest of you, I have faith he will.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    For whatever it's worth, Harden's eFG% was .504 last season and .558 the season before that. Hopefully he improves and we see more of that in upcoming years despite his new role.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Yup, and I keep trying to steer you away from the pps viewpoint. I get it. If you want to keep bringing it up like I don't you can, but it's beating a dead horse as I have acknowledged it the whole time. I am ONLY talking pure fg% with Harden. I am talking about game by game, if you take away those free throws, the shine comes off reeeeaaaaal fast. That's it.

    Look at his game logs (I'm sure you have, but look again). Even Tyreke Evans thinks that's wildly inconsistent...

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Again, this goes back to my concern for Harden...His game is not yet multi-faceted and without referee assistance he struggles to put together a respectable game.

    the thing is blake was in his role last year and had minimal gains this year. harden was just receiving this role this year and had the largest point gain in scoring average in the nba this year. that gets him a better grade to me

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I never really responded to this...comparing James Harden to Dwayne Wade's injury-riddled season where he only played 51 games is a little dubious, isn't it? Especially when you describe it as Wade's "prime". Clearly, two years earlier when he won the championship with Shaq was his prime. Wade converted 63% of his shots at the rim and got tons of foul calls (he made 629 out of 803 free throws that year). Harden shot 54% this year at the rim. Harden's 3 pt. shooting was markedly better. Harden made 674 out of 792 free throws this year, for comparison.

    Again, I'm not saying he can't, or won't get there. I'm saying he is not there and, until he is, it's a concern.

    My mistake, I was supposed to use 2009 which was Wade's highest PER year:http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerID=2548&Season=2008-09

    For whatever it's worth, don't forget that 3's are worth more than 2's. For example45% midrange is the same thing as a 30% 3-pt. And 50% midrange (very, very rare) is the same thing as a 33.3% 3pt (very common).

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    @thejohnnygold

    B+ is a decent grade for blake (IMO) I agree he need to develop that jump shot of his. I think that's why his numbers decreased during the playoffs.....teams simply aren't going to give up many lobs. this also rendered d-Jordan useless. even tho he was already slipping b4 the playoffs even started.

    Again, this goes back to my concern for Harden...His game is not yet multi-faceted and without referee assistance he struggles to put together a respectable game.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Oh, and RBF, this was my reaction when I saw you give Josh Smith a B+

    45822-Keanu-Bill-and-Ted-whoa-gif-49A7.g

    ...until I realized that just shows how lowly you regard his game...and then I felt more like this...

    xnra05.gif

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    @thejohnnygold

    B+ is a decent grade for blake (IMO) I agree he need to develop that jump shot of his. I think that's why his numbers decreased during the playoffs.....teams simply aren't going to give up many lobs. this also rendered d-Jordan useless. even tho he was already slipping b4 the playoffs even started.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Oh you think he will stop getting calls, now I understand your concern. Well if it makes you feel better, his shot chart looks better than Wade's in Wade's prime.http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerID=2548&Season=2007-08

    Considering how Wade is still considered an elite SG even to this day, I still think defense is the bigger concern in Harden's game. But I agree, Harden could start getting less calls one day so he should improve his shooting before that happens. And if by chance he improves his shooting while still getting the calls, then look out, his TS% will reach that astronomical Lebron/Durant efficiency status.

    I never really responded to this...comparing James Harden to Dwayne Wade's injury-riddled season where he only played 51 games is a little dubious, isn't it? Especially when you describe it as Wade's "prime". Clearly, two years earlier when he won the championship with Shaq was his prime. Wade converted 63% of his shots at the rim and got tons of foul calls (he made 629 out of 803 free throws that year). Harden shot 54% this year at the rim. Harden's 3 pt. shooting was markedly better. Harden made 674 out of 792 free throws this year, for comparison.

    Again, I'm not saying he can't, or won't get there. I'm saying he is not there and, until he is, it's a concern.

    Edit: Wade's best season was probably '08-'09 when he finally got healthy and made up for lost time

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Teague vs. Lin is a tough call--I like them both.

    Blake Griffin...that's tough as I naturally don't like him...he played at Oklahoma. I also think he is over-rated by the media because of his hyper-athleticism.

    I can say that it is interesting his play-off numbers dipped this year--due to a decrease in his playing time...He couldn't hang with Z-Bo and Gasol--not that many can.

    He is an excellent finisher, and makes a good number of his post-up hook shots....after that, I'm not certain he is very useful...he is a decent defender. I know he is working on his jump shot, but right now it's bad--so bad Josh Smith looks good in comparison. :lol:

    So, I guess I will give him a B+. His huge contract weighs into that. He did what he is supposed to do very well, but for that much money his jump shot needs to improve...if he finds the range and can knock down 15-18 ft. jumpers with regularity he will be lethal on offense and definitely find himself in the A range.

    I am biased as I believe any skilled NBA player should be able to comfortably shoot from 15 -18 ft--unless you are a 7' behemoth whose job description is to dominate the paint. (one of my knocks against Harden--if he is supposed to be one of the best SG's in the league then I need to see better shooting. I know he scores a lot, but it's the shooting part that bugs me.)

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Lin = Teague imo

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Asik > horford
    Lin = Teague
    Parsons > korver

    asik>horford

    lin

    parson>korver

    harden>lou Williams

    our PF's< j-smith

    at this point Teague is a better overall player than lin (IMO)

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Wow, do I come across as harsh on Harden? I guess I do to a degree--his defense, inconsistency, and what I call "offensive flopping" are all things I have a problem with. For the record--I am glad he's a Rocket and think he is an excellent scorer with plenty of room to grow and mature into an elite player. I'm not ready to anoint him yet, but he at least has the potential--which few players do.

    Josh Smith? Ha, I can feel you chomping at the bit on this one, RBF :lol:

    I'm not blind. I would be a fool to say he had a great year. By great year, I mean one deserving of the max contract he seeks. His 3 pt. shooting was below acceptable at 30% and his free throw shooting was atrocious. We all know about the long two's at low fg% problem. There's not much I can say that isn't mentioned earlier in the Josh Smith thread. I'm afraid I'm not going to take the bait and give him a grade--feel free to put forth one yourself. :P

    I think there is a lot of context and circumstance that goes into this big picture--I know we disagree on a lot of that--but to me it is relevant. The bottom line is I think Smith has the goods and they aren't being put to use right now. I believe Houston will be a match made in Heaven and we will get the best Josh Smith has to offer. He's not perfect (and he's definitely not Lebron...but that's not fair to compare him to anyone) but I truly believe if Houston plugged him in and set him up to succeed he could legitimately find his way into the MVP conversation. Yup, I said it. M-V-P. I don't think He would win it, but he would get recognition after posting a solid 18, 8 and 8 for the season while playing some solid defense with a couple of blocks and steals per game.

    And for the record, I have always acknowledged all of his faults--look back on the posts--I don't wear rose-colored glasses.

    Edit: typo

    dang..... couldn't get you to bite on that one huh :lol:well I have no problem.....he gets a B+. he had a very good year for him......still don't mean I want him, but I can give credit where credit is due. I do agree with you he is not a max player. his faults are eroding his game (IMO). he is very good, but has maxed out his talent to me. he is now probably the best he is capable of being, but that's a debate for another day. I tell you what I still don't have a reference on your grading curveso lets try a neutral player......how about blake griffin. what is your grade for him?

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I agree with this. It's one thing to recognize the inherent advantage of those shots...and another to blindly force them when the opposing defense is shutting it down and negating said advantage.

  • miketheodio says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm not advocating basing our offense on those but harden needs to be able to knock those shots down in order to take that next step

    of course, but one of those 12ft paint shots (tony parker's stop and pops or pick and pop or a derrick rose floater) is a weapon the rockets need. all guards need that shot in their bag of tricks.i wish people weren't so obsessed with 3s, FT's, and shots at the rim. i dont think taking a wide open 15-17 footer or a 10-12 foot shot is a terrible thing.

    harden was great. new role as 1st option. did better than expected. i think he can be too reliant on refs and would rather go to the line than get the and1. although, i think that problem started happening more later in the season when he was getting tired.

    id give him an A-

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    Wow, do I come across as harsh on Harden? I guess I do to a degree--his defense, inconsistency, and what I call "offensive flopping" are all things I have a problem with. For the record--I am glad he's a Rocket and think he is an excellent scorer with plenty of room to grow and mature into an elite player. I'm not ready to anoint him yet, but he at least has the potential--which few players do.

    Josh Smith? Ha, I can feel you chomping at the bit on this one, RBF :lol:

    I'm not blind. I would be a fool to say he had a great year. By great year, I mean one deserving of the max contract he seeks. His 3 pt. shooting was below acceptable at 30% and his free throw shooting was atrocious. We all know about the long two's at low fg% problem. There's not much I can say that isn't mentioned earlier in the Josh Smith thread. I'm afraid I'm not going to take the bait and give him a grade--feel free to put forth one yourself. :P

    I think there is a lot of context and circumstance that goes into this big picture--I know we disagree on a lot of that--but to me it is relevant. The bottom line is I think Smith has the goods and they aren't being put to use right now. I believe Houston will be a match made in Heaven and we will get the best Josh Smith has to offer. He's not perfect (and he's definitely not Lebron...but that's not fair to compare him to anyone) but I truly believe if Houston plugged him in and set him up to succeed he could legitimately find his way into the MVP conversation. Yup, I said it. M-V-P. I don't think He would win it, but he would get recognition after posting a solid 18, 8 and 8 for the season while playing some solid defense with a couple of blocks and steals per game.

    And for the record, I have always acknowledged all of his faults--look back on the posts--I don't wear rose-colored glasses.

    Edit: typo

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Asik > horford
    Lin = Teague
    Parsons > korver
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago

    You got to remember how bad that Hawks team actually is.


    Yea. An all-star C. A better PG then the Rockets have. A three point specialist. But yea this team is terrible. He had a C season at best. He got worse, his skills are eroding, and that's after he went from the number 2 option to the number one.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago You got to remember how bad that Hawks team actually is.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I give josh smith an A for defense and a B for offense so an A- overall. I thought overall he had a better season than Harden because Harden was a liability on defense and regressed offensively as the season waned. Obviously Harden is a better player IMO, but smith had the better season
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    @thejohnnygold

    question.............what grade would you give j-smith this year? :lol:I can't wait for this one :lol:you are so harsh on harden I just want to see how you do j-smith so I can have a reference on your grading curve. some times when you describe him to me you make it sound as if he has no faults. he had one of his best years in Atlanta this year.......what's his grade?

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Oh you think he will stop getting calls, now I understand your concern. Well if it makes you feel better, his shot chart looks better than Wade's in Wade's prime.http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerID=2548&Season=2007-08

    Considering how Wade is still considered an elite SG even to this day, I still think defense is the bigger concern in Harden's game. But I agree, Harden could start getting less calls one day so he should improve his shooting before that happens. And if by chance he improves his shooting while still getting the calls, then look out, his TS% will reach that astronomical Lebron/Durant efficiency status.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm withholding my grade for Harden. I feel like the voice of dissension, but I have a lot of concerns about his game--aside from the defense.

    My biggest concern is his fg%. There were far too many sub-standard shooting performances last year. If memory serves, it was roughly 1 out of three games that he shot below 40%. For our leader, that is not good. We are relying on him night in and night out. The occasional bad game is to be expected, but there were far too many. I'm willing to concede every excuse that can be made--which is why I am waiting. If this problem doesn't shift towards the positive next year then I think we have to re-evaluate Mr. Harden.

    I have faith that things will turn for the better, but I also see a huge underlying problem with those 5-17 shooting performances. In fairness, our offensive system didn't do much to help once defenses keyed into what we were doing and set out to stop it--there just didn't seem to be a back-up plan.

    This is my original post. If it didn't slather enough love on him then I'm sorry :P

    I think my assessment is fair and in line with what you guys are saying. It was a problem this year and I concede that every reason offered for it is valid. Next year, if it persists, is when I will get really concerned. The fact is, he put up roughly 27 bad games (and many of those were really bad) not counting the playoffs (I would have to track down the post where I counted them as I don't want to take the time to do it again).

    I totally understand TS% and EFG%. Those things are great and Harden put up great numbers in those categories. Unfortunately, that largely relied on the referees--which makes me nervous.

    For perspective, 674 of his 2,023 total points were made free throws. That is 33%. He shot 47.7% from the field after subtracting his three pointers. That's not bad...until you realize that 627 of those 851 shots were in the paint. He shot 33.6 from mid-range on 224 shots.

    Again, this is his opportunity to take the lessons from this year and come back and be sooooo much better. That is the best part. IF he can do that then we are good--better than good. On the flip side, if he cannot then we are in trouble. NBA defenses will not allow him to keep doing the same things--they are too good for that. He has got to adapt and learn how to better involve his teammates.

    This is why my grade for him is on hold...until we can see which way this goes....I guess that's not fair since we are supposed to be grading this year. OK, for this year, bearing everything in mind he gets an A. That being said, this year's performance (including the defense) will not be good enough for an A next year. High standards are a b!%@&. :)

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Don't you have to consider all the times he got fouled an went to the line when looking at his shooting %? That probably raises his % close to 50%. Y'all are now just nitpicking. Nobody is perfect (except LeBron, the guy is going to go down as the greatest ever). 25/6/5. Those stats matter. Everything else is gravy.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Harden is the greatest thing since slice bread.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:that's telling them.............I didn't want to be the one to say it but........... :lol:

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I like to tear my bread off in chunks actually.
  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Harden is the greatest thing since slice bread.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I'm not advocating basing our offense on those but harden needs to be able to knock those shots down in order to take that next step
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Is it just me watching the Spurs/Warriors games? The team that wins hits those midrange jumpers more. Either Curry/Thompson or Parker
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    @ thejohnnygold/TTDN

    nobody is saying harden is the greatest thing since sliced bread. just that your grading curve is steep. I saw his faults just like you did, but considering what he was up against he had an outstanding year. JG I too am concerned about shooting percentage, but gave harden a pass because a man can get tired packing a franchise on his back for the first time. now if he still has the same problem next year then it's time to panic. I see his defense or lack there of (TTDN), but againI expect improvement next year on that front as well. don't the man get some credit for leading this team to the playoffs in his 1st season as alpha dog. do you think we make the playoffs without him? give credit where credit is due. YES I expect a better player next year, but for the 1st time around the block harden did just fine (IMO)

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I see and understand what everyone is saying. I'm surprised that no one else finds concern in the area that I do. I already conceded that Harden did great. My point has been stated--if it is not hitting home so be it.

    I get that there is a shift occurring in how a player's scoring is viewed. That's fine. That player is one rule change away from being relegated back to average--ask Kevin Martin. He was brought in for the same reason Harden was--efficient scorer due to his high number of fouls drawn and good ft% (I believe he also led the league in "and-1's"). The rules changed, he stopped getting foul calls and he was not nearly as effective ever after. This is James Harden, potentially. Take away the free throws and....uh-oh!

    I don't think it's nit-picking to want my SG to shoot well. Perhaps we should change his position to scoring guard....that suits him better.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Harden gets an A+ from me on offense for the year relative to what I expected from him. He gets a HUGE F for his defense. But his offense obviously outweighs his defense so I would have to give him a solid B overall. I disagree that we can't point out his flaws. Do we want to be stuck with the next Stat, Nash, Melo(pre Woodson), etcetera... No. We want a Wade, James, Jordan, Duncan type 2 way player. If its wrong to want a player to "try" on defense, then there is a disconnect between us that can never be removed.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    LOL, RBF--you can't take credit for everything :lol:

    I agree that he is developing. It's just my opinion that relying on referees to call fouls (especially when you are gaining a rep for said procedure) is a slippery slope. I understand that shooting more threes will dip your fg%. It's not the overall I am looking at. It's the craziness of it. Even deducting his 3 point shots from his totals results in a very high number of sub-par shooting performances. I am talking about consistency in shooting the ball--no more, no less. His threes and frees are not at issue right now. I want him to be a little better from the floor and then I think he can legitimately carry the tag of best SG in the league.

    Think of it this way--if he did post a consistent and respectable fg% while maintaining his 3 pt. shooting and the volume of free throws we'd easily be looking at a guy scoring 30+ per game. I am excited and curious to see how things go...

    I didn't take credit for anything....my only point is I think you guys are being a little harsh on harden considering it was his 1st year in his present role. if I took time I could find fault in any players game. nobody's perfect. harden did enough this year to warrant a pat on the back, not a kick in the pants. just sounds like you guys are nitpicking the man's game without considering all the fact that go into the puzzle

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm not sure if I'm missing your point or if you're not seeing my perspective, but let me put it this way:

    Harden at age 23 needed 17 shots (or 22 shots if you count the free throws)to score 26 points.

    Kobe at age 23 needed 20 shots (or 23 if you include the free throws) to 25.2 points.

    Questions:

    1. Do you see Kobe's efficiency there as cause for concern aswell?
    2. Isn't every point Harden scores just as valuable as every point Kobe scores regardless of the method that point was scored?
    3. Why does it matter which area of the floor those points are coming from?

    Just so you know, these questions aren't rhetorical even though they might shed my perspective, your answers might help me understand your perspective a little better too.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    You're ignoring the point--I'm not talking TS% or EFG%. If you want to ignore the fact that our starting, max-paid SG is not a consistent shooter that's fine. For me, that is cause for concern. Again, he is young (albeit entering his 5th year) so I am willing to wait another season to see improvement. Am I the only person here who thinks a max-paid SG should make more of his shots???? :blink:

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    He's already the most efficient starting SG in the league though. If he took the same amount of shots as Kobe did in Kobe's prime then he would already be a 30+ scorer, and I'm not sure that would be a good thing.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    LOL, RBF--you can't take credit for everything :lol:

    I agree that he is developing. It's just my opinion that relying on referees to call fouls (especially when you are gaining a rep for said procedure) is a slippery slope. I understand that shooting more threes will dip your fg%. It's not the overall I am looking at. It's the craziness of it. Even deducting his 3 point shots from his totals results in a very high number of sub-par shooting performances. I am talking about consistency in shooting the ball--no more, no less. His threes and frees are not at issue right now. I want him to be a little better from the floor and then I think he can legitimately carry the tag of best SG in the league.

    Think of it this way--if he did post a consistent and respectable fg% while maintaining his 3 pt. shooting and the volume of free throws we'd easily be looking at a guy scoring 30+ per game. I am excited and curious to see how things go...

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Generally speaking, guys who take a ton of threes are going to have a lower fg% than guys who don't. Kobe Bryant has posted a similar fg% several times, but not once has he ever posted as high of a TS% as Harden does (yes Harden gets to the line alot but so did Kobe in his prime). If efficiency is what you're worried about, I say cast your worries away because we have the most efficient starting shooting guard in the league and he hasn't even hit his prime yet.

    The biggest concern we should have in Harden's game is his defense--hands down. He posted a much lower DRAPM than any of his team mates, and the team allows 4.2 points more (per 100 possessions according to 82games.com) while Harden is on the floor. Those are similar measures, I'm guessing you hate them both but I believe they paint an accurate picture in this case. If he just played average defense we could be at least a few points better per game, and that would help us more than upping his fg% from 43% to possibly 47% by shooting less threes. Call me crazy, but if he played just slightly above average defense I would be calling him a top 5 player already.

    totally agree. I keep saying it, nobody hears me.....the man is 23. he will evolve like all other young players. is parsons a better player now than he was in his rookie year? it's a process. very few stars come into the league like LeBron. even durrant took time to refine his game. (IMO) harden is already the best 2 guard in the league. he's a star right now. the next step is superstar. he has the talent and drive to reach it, but must be given the time to develop.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    Generally speaking, guys who take a ton of threes are going to have a lower fg% than guys who don't. Kobe Bryant has posted a similar fg% several times, but not once has he ever posted as high of a TS% as Harden does (yes Harden gets to the line alot but so did Kobe in his prime). If efficiency is what you're worried about, I say cast your worries away because we have the most efficient starting shooting guard in the league and he hasn't even hit his prime yet.

    The biggest concern we should have in Harden's game is his defense--hands down. He posted a much lower DRAPM than any of his team mates, and the team allows 4.2 points more (per 100 possessions according to 82games.com) while Harden is on the floor. Those are similar measures, I'm guessing you hate them both but I believe they paint an accurate picture in this case. If he just played average defense we could be at least a few points better per game, and that would help us more than upping his fg% from 43% to possibly 47% by shooting less threes. Call me crazy, but if he played just slightly above average defense I would be calling him a top 5 player already.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    I'm withholding my grade for Harden. I feel like the voice of dissension, but I have a lot of concerns about his game--aside from the defense.

    My biggest concern is his fg%. There were far too many sub-standard shooting performances last year. If memory serves, it was roughly 1 out of three games that he shot below 40%. For our leader, that is not good. We are relying on him night in and night out. The occasional bad game is to be expected, but there were far too many. I'm willing to concede every excuse that can be made--which is why I am waiting. If this problem doesn't shift towards the positive next year then I think we have to re-evaluate Mr. Harden.

    I have faith that things will turn for the better, but I also see a huge underlying problem with those 5-17 shooting performances. In fairness, our offensive system didn't do much to help once defenses keyed into what we were doing and set out to stop it--there just didn't seem to be a back-up plan.

  • 2016Champions says 1 YEAR ago

    He was my favorite player last season so my expectations were very high for him. I remember making a top 25 players list with a bunch of friends and not only was I the only one who ranked him in my top 25, I actually had him ranked 10th which my buddies thought was ridiculous especially considering how poorly he played in the finals--something I disregarded because it was a small sample of games, and plenty of great players have played poorly in the playoffs during their early years (Some people might not remember this because Lakers won, but Kobe was horrible in the 2000 finals). Several weeks later Harden was in a Rockets uniform putting up the type of numbers you would expect from a pissed off Kobe Bryant in his prime, and suddenly I didn't look so crazy after all.

    I actually expected Harden to be a better defender, he certainly was in college, and I never noticed his defensive short comings in OKC. I also thought he would be better in late game situations because he often finished games with the ball in his hands even in OKC, and I thought to myself "wow, if they're choosing to put the ball in Harden's hands over Durant's hands to finish the game then that's really saying something".
    In hindsight, I think my expectations were too high, I underestimated the drawbacks of bigger minutes and a bigger role, maybe I thought Harden would overcome those drawbacks because he's still young. However, if I'm being perfectly honest, I can't say he met my high expectations.
    -A
    And my expectations for next season will be even higher, I think he can lead the league in scoring or at least come second to only Durant, and I expect defensive improvement and late game improvement. I guess I'm making it almost impossible for Harden to get an A+ in my eyes, but it's not like impossible hasn't been done before.
    post-1390-Impossible-is-nothing-Muhammad
  • RollingWave says 1 YEAR ago

    I think grading need to be taken into 2 looks though, expectation, and overall, most grades kinda mix the two and thus come up with iffy results, for example, if someone's signed for big money but merely plays decent, he probably end up getting a lower score than a cheap player who played as a decent reserve, when of course, in context without money, you surely still take the former guy.

    Having said that. Harden

    Versus Expectation: A+ , expectation were high, but he blew by even that without question.

    Overall : A- , as the OP noted very well. he scored amazingly, but the other side of the ball leaves something to be desired.

  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    No easy A's here... this isn't Sociology 101. This is Advanced NBA fan blogging 411.

    Advanced NBA fan blogging 411 :lol:tuff to argue with that :lol:however I'm still not sold he should receive less than an A. I respect your opinion. but I think you are being a little harsh on harden :rolleyes:

  • manmythlegend says 1 YEAR ago No easy A's here... this isn't Sociology 101. This is Advanced NBA fan blogging 411.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    I should grade on a curve and weigh his offensive grade heavier than his defensive grade. I'll give him a B+/A- instead of a B-. His importance on offense should be given a lot more weight. He's basically in the 2nd tier of great players with Westbrook and Carmello. He's a couple seasons away of continued development before he hits the "A+" stratosphere where Lebron, Chris Paul, DWade and Durant live.

    just break down and give the man an A will ya :lol:you know he deserves it .......come on man! :rolleyes:

  • manmythlegend says 1 YEAR ago I should grade on a curve and weigh his offensive grade heavier than his defensive grade. I'll give him a B+/A- instead of a B-. His importance on offense should be given a lot more weight. He's basically in the 2nd tier of great players with Westbrook and Carmello. He's a couple seasons away of continued development before he hits the "A+" stratosphere where Lebron, Chris Paul, DWade and Durant live.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago

    Offense: A
    Defense: who cares

    Overall: A

    Harden provided more stats then the person he defended. Thus who cares what he gives up. If everyone does more then the person they guard, you win.

    agree with the grade, but I do care about defense :rolleyes:also lets not forget he is only 23............23..........twenty three. all stars go through an evolution just like any other young player. besides he played better defense during the playoffs which showed he is capable. harden has exceeded any reasonable expectation for his 1st season as alpha dog. I think he tired a little coming downto the end of the season, but he nowunderstands what it takes to thrive in the league. I expect his second season will probably show us a more rounded star on both ends of the court.

  • Steven says 1 YEAR ago Offense: A
    Defense: who cares

    Overall: A

    Harden provided more stats then the person he defended. Thus who cares what he gives up. If everyone does more then the person they guard, you win.
  • manmythlegend says 1 YEAR ago I'll give him 2 grades:

    Offense: A-

    Defense: C-

    Overall: B-

    His offensive game and efficiency are off the charts and is the prototype for the modern strategy of 3's, layups, free throws, and nothing inbetween. I give him the "minus" because of his habit of going iso, particularly late in games, which is inefficient and sets his teammates up for rushed shots late in the shot clock when he decides to pass. Also, he either lead or was one of the top 3 in turnovers per game, partly a reflection of his increased usage, but in many cases because of poor judgment.

    Defensively, we all know his deficiencies...going for steals and not chasing his man after failing to get those steals, getting beat on backdoor cuts to the hoop, etc. Zach Lowe consistently remarked on how poor Harden is on D and even went so far as to say this directly to Morey during a Grantland podcast. It's great to be a scoring a machine, but defense is 50% of the time spent on the floor. I don't believe Harden will ever be a stopper, but he can make incremental improvements and maybe considered average someday. Improving the overall team defense, or perhaps putting him on a weaker offensive player on defense to mask his deficiencies, might eventually be the way to go.

    Overall, acquiring Harden was the NBA transaction of the year. I would not say yet he is a HoF talent yet.

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