All Sports Rumors & News >

Just how good is James Harden?

Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (L) drives against Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo (R) in the second half of Game 2 of their second round Western Conference NBA basketball playoffs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

When the Oklahoma City Thunder drafted James Harden #3 overall in the 2009 draft, it was a sign that the team had confidence in Russell Westbrook as their point guard of the future. After all, the 2009 draft was loaded with point guards (Ricky Rubio, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison, to name a few), but the Thunder elected to go with a shooting guard instead.

After the 2009-10 season, while Tyreke Evans was winning Rookie of the Year, and while Jennings, Curry, Collison and Taj Gibson were joining Evans on the All-Rookie First Team, Harden was something of a disappointment. He was an important player in the Thunder rotation, but he came off the bench and could only muster an All-Rookie Second Team nod. It was a solid if unspectacular rookie season.

Now, with the Thunder in the Western Conference Playoffs, Harden is playing 31+ minutes off the OKC bench and is often closing out games. He’s like Manu Ginobili — he’s not a starter, but he’s a closer, and that’s what matters.

It got me wondering — how does Harden’s playoff performance (12-5-4 on 46% shooting) stack up with other guards his age (21)?

Below you’ll find a table with the Per 36 Minute stats of the Top 30 guards in Efficiency Per Game (EPG is also normalized to 36 minutes).

Rk Player Season G PTS TRB AST FG% 3P% FT% EPG
1 Michael Jordan* 1984-85 82 26.5 6.1 5.5 .515 .173 .845 27.5
2 Kobe Bryant 1999-00 66 21.2 5.9 4.6 .468 .319 .821 21.5
3 Chris Paul 2006-07 64 16.9 4.3 8.7 .437 .350 .818 20.7
4 Isiah Thomas* 1982-83 81 21.6 3.8 7.4 .472 .288 .710 20.4
5 Rodrigue Beaubois 2009-10 56 20.4 4.0 3.8 .518 .409 .808 19.6
6 James Harden-Playoffs 2010-11 13 14.2 5.5 4.2 .457 .300 .839 18.9
7 Russell Westbrook 2009-10 82 16.9 5.1 8.3 .418 .221 .780 18.9
8 Stephen Curry 2009-10 80 17.4 4.4 5.9 .462 .437 .885 18.9
9 Gilbert Arenas 2002-03 82 18.8 4.8 6.5 .431 .348 .791 18.6
10 Kevin Johnson 1987-88 80 13.7 3.6 8.2 .461 .208 .839 18.5
11 Derrick Rose 2009-10 78 20.3 3.7 5.9 .489 .267 .766 18.4
12 Ennis Whatley 1983-84 80 11.1 3.3 11.0 .469 .000 .730 17.4
13 Allen Iverson 1996-97 76 21.1 3.7 6.7 .416 .341 .702 17.4
14 Clyde Drexler* 1983-84 82 16.1 6.0 3.9 .451 .250 .728 17.2
15 Jason Kidd 1994-95 79 12.4 5.8 8.2 .385 .272 .698 17.1
16 Rajon Rondo 2007-08 77 12.7 5.0 6.1 .492 .263 .611 17.1
17 James Harden 2010-11 82 16.4 4.2 2.9 .436 .349 .843 16.6
18 Baron Davis 2000-01 82 12.8 4.6 6.7 .427 .310 .677 16.5
19 Mike Bibby 1999-00 82 13.6 3.5 7.6 .445 .363 .780 16.3
20 Jordan Farmar 2007-08 82 16.0 3.9 4.8 .461 .371 .679 16.3
21 Quentin Richardson 2001-02 81 18.0 5.6 2.1 .432 .381 .765 16.2
22 Josh Childress 2004-05 80 12.2 7.3 2.3 .470 .232 .823 16.1
23 Tyreke Evans 2010-11 57 17.3 4.7 5.5 .409 .291 .771 16.0
24 Louis Williams 2007-08 80 17.8 3.2 4.9 .424 .359 .783 15.9
25 Monta Ellis 2006-07 77 17.4 3.3 4.4 .475 .273 .763 15.8
26 Dorell Wright 2006-07 66 11.0 7.6 2.6 .445 .147 .744 15.6
27 J.R. Smith 2006-07 63 20.0 3.5 2.2 .441 .390 .810 15.6
28 Andre Iguodala 2004-05 82 9.9 6.2 3.3 .493 .331 .743 15.5
29 Kyle Lowry 2007-08 82 13.6 4.3 5.1 .432 .257 .698 15.2
30 Brandon Jennings 2010-11 63 16.9 3.9 5.1 .390 .323 .809 15.2

Keep in mind that all of these players were 21 years old on February 1 of the season in question and the data only goes back to the 1982-83 season. I only included players that appeared in at least 50 games during the season to eliminate the riffraff.

I included both Harden’s regular season stats (#17) and his 2011 playoff stats (#6). As you can see, both sets of numbers should be encouraging for Harden supporters. His efficiency is up in the playoffs because he’s shooting at a higher percentage and is tallying more rebounds and assists.

If Playoffs James Harden is the real James Harden, then he has star written all over him. Even if his regular season numbers are more indicative of his ability, he’s still going to be a solid starter in the NBA for most of his career.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

From our partners
Picture of the Day

Picture of the Day

Enjoy a daily photo from Bullz-Eye.com of one of their beautiful models.

Online Dating Guide

Improve your game today!

You've got to brush up on your game to get the girl! Find your hookups with this online dating guide.

Sexy Girls and Cars

Check out this slideshow of hot babes and cool cars.

Related Posts

One response to “Just how good is James Harden?”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>