James Harden has been one of the leagues best scorers since being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets in 2012. With the Thunder, Harden played the role of sixth man and third musketeer to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
On the Rockets Harden has become a superstar with hardly any playoff success. he is been surrounded by drama with one of the biggest divas / news worthy players in the NBA in Dwight Howard. With Howard gone and new head coach Mike D’Antonio in Houston, Harden has moved to point guard. He is putting up video game numbers that are pretty comparable to the numbers his former teammate Russell Westbrook is putting up.
Harden is not getting anywhere near the same publicity that Westbrook, due to the fact that Harden did not have a homegrown superstar ,Kevin Durant, bolt to the best team in the league during free agency. Without Durant, Westbrook is averaging a triple-double but, with Harden starting at point guard this year, he is pretty close to a triple double himself. Harden is averaging 28.1 points per game (PPG), 11.6 assists per game (APG), and 7.7 rebounds per game (RPG). So far, both his assists and rebounds per game are career highs while his PPG total has only dipped by 0.9.
If Westbrook ends the season averaging a triple-double, he will be the MVP of the NBA but, would it be the right decision? Harden is shooting .438 % from the field while Westbrook is shooting . 426%. Westbrook is also averaging close to 6 more shots a game than Harden. Westbrook does have a higher player efficiency rating (PER) than Harden but, Harden has led the Rockets to a better record at 18-7 compared to the Thunder’s 15-10. People will argue that Harden has the better supporting cast of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Trevor Ariza but, thats up for interpretation. In all reality, the Rockets probably have a slightly better lineup but the Thunder has Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, and Victor Oladipo who are all more than serviceable players.
There is no doubt that both Westbrook and Harden are having great seasons but, Harden deserves more credit than he is getting. Being dubbed the Rockets new point guard at the beginning of the year, Harden has excelled at the position and its as if he does not exist when Westbrook is running around putting up triple-doubles. Westbrook will most likely win the MVP award at the end of the season, triple-double or not, but Harden should be getting more consideration as the season goes along.