James Harden Proves to be the Most Dominant Scorer Since 2017-18, Leaves Behind LeBron James and Others

Published 12/29/2020, 6:30 AM EST
Dec 26, 2020; Portland, Oregon, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports


The Houston Rockets were facing a lot of locker-room drama in the off-season, leading to Russell Westbrook leaving for the Wizards, and James Harden also wanting to leave. They have kept hold of him for now, and last night’s performance was a reminder of why the Rockets need him.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Rockets fell to the Nuggets 111-124, but Harden was at his scoring best. He had 34 points while shooting 10-16 from the field, including 5-9 from deep. Although the game ended in defeat for them, without Harden’s scoring, things could have been much worse.

Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and guard David Nwaba (2) speak in the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

His scoring rate in the past few years has been insane. Since the 2017-18 season, no other player in the NBA has scored more points than him. And there is no one even close to him. He stands at 7422 points, and his nearest competitor is Damian Lillard, who has 6079 points. In comparison, LeBron James has just 5545 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo has 5942.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Can James Harden continue this form and lead them in the postseason?

When it comes to the regular season, Harden is a scoring assassin. He is one of the biggest offensive threats in the league, and it is tough to slow him down. But his main problem has been to replicate this form into the postseason.

During this same time period (2017-18 to right now), Harden’s field goal percentage drops considerably in the playoffs. He averages 46% from the field and 36% from three in the regular season. But in the playoffs, these numbers drop to 42% from the field and 32% from three.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) before the game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

However, Harden’s inability to lead his team in the playoffs has been exposed over the years. Teammates have come and gone, but the Rockets haven’t been able to go past the Conference Finals, which they reached just twice since Harden arrived in Houston in 2012.

This season, he has new teammates, but also a new coach. Similar to him, they are also hungry for success and are eager to win a ring. Harden has to prove that he can be a playoff performer too and lead them to a respectable playoff run, at least. But for that, he needs to be focused, because he is still keen on leaving.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Aaron Mathew

1520 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT