We all know that James Harden is one of the best players in the game of basketball. After coming off of a stellar MVP season in the Rockets’ 2018-2019 campaign, it seems as though the beard was just scratching the surface.
Harden has been known throughout basketball as one of the game’s elite scorers, and has been improving year after year. Last season, he averaged a career high 30 PPG. Averaging 30 points per game throughout an entire season is definitely MVP caliber numbers, but this year Harden has stepped up his game to an unreal level.
Through 49 games this season, Harden is averaging just over 36 PPG, which is by far first place in the league, to go along with 7 RPG and 8 APG. His assist numbers mark fourth in the league, which is very impressive when you look at how much he’s scoring the ball on a nightly basis. Usually heavy load scorers will carry the duties of putting the ball in the basket; similar to Carmelo Anthony’s role in his prime. However, Harden’s teammates and coaches put so much trust into him, that he has the highest usage rate in the NBA, and is involved in almost 75% of the Rocket’s offense.
Part of Harden’s ability to score have been his new tactics to get to the charity stripe: Harden averages over 10 free throw attempts per game; most in NBA history. Harden even had a game where he scored 56 points- and 27 of them were scored from the free throw line.
Because of his historic numbers and his team’s amazing success this season, Harden should be a commanding favourite in MVP voting throughout the 2018-2019 NBA season.
The Harden-led Houston Rockets are currently sitting as the sixth seed in the tough western conference with a 30-22 record and about two thirds of the season in the books. It’ll be an important test to see if Harden and his Rockets can finally get past the Warriors and end up on the league’s biggest stage: The NBA finals.