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Daryl Morey: Argument could be made for James Harden to be called best offensive player ever

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Shaq2Yao, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Shaq2Yao

    Shaq2Yao Member

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    http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/...y-says-james-harden-best-offensive-player-all

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- James Harden repeatedly flashed two fingers in the moments after he led the Houston Rockets to a come-from-behind 135-134 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, the reigning MVP's most recent statement about his plans to claim that award again.

    A historic run by Harden, which continued with a 44-point, 10-rebound, 15-assist performance that he capped by drilling a 29-foot game winner over two defenders, has some in the Rockets organization thinking of Harden's greatness in a bigger context.

    "You could argue for him as the best offensive player of all time," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told ESPN. "To be able to say that with a straight face, and not have it be GM speak or coachspeak, is pretty amazing. There's a whole bunch of ways to measure it, but he's for sure in the conversation as the greatest offensive player ever."

    Harden, who is leading the NBA with a career-high 33.6 points per game, is unquestionably in the midst of one of the most spectacular offensive stretches in recent NBA history. He has scored at least 40 points in five consecutive games, joining Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson as the only players to have such streaks in the past 50 years.

    Harden has recorded at least 35 points and 5 assists in Houston's past nine games. Oscar Robertson previously held the NBA record for most consecutive 35-point, 5-assist outings at seven games.

    "He's at a level that almost nobody in NBA history has been at," Morey said. "We're obviously focused on April and beyond, but it's special to watch right now."

    The Rockets have soared from 14th to fourth place in the Western Conference standings by winning 11 of their past 12 games despite co-star Chris Paul missing the past six games (all victories) because of a strained hamstring. Harden has averaged 40.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 9.0 assists during Houston's 11-1 hot streak.

    "His confidence in himself is inspiring, really," Rockets guard Austin Riverssaid. "Everybody else just feeds off of it. I mean, even Steph [Curry] during the game was like, 'Dude, what he's doing right now is crazy.' Dudes know what he's doing is legendary."

    Harden described his confidence as being "through the roof," adding that it has been that way for some time now. And it's contagious.

    "He's so special," said Houston center Clint Capela, who had a career-high-tying 29 points and 21 rebounds. "To me, I feel like because of him I got to the next level too. You see a guy like that every day go that hard, it just gives me so much energy."

    The Warriors managed to disrupt Harden's rhythm for a little more than a half, holding him to 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting in the first two quarters. Golden State led by 20 a minute into the second half, but Harden dominated the remainder of the quarter to get the Rockets within striking distance, contributing 13 points and 6 assists to Houston's 39-point frame.

    Harden scored only five points in the fourth quarter, but he swished a 30-foot stepback to tie the score with 51.4 seconds remaining. The game went into overtime after Harden missed a 32-footer in the final seconds.

    Harden scored 11 points in overtime, going 3-of-4 from 3-point range. The game winner was a 29-foot pull-up that Harden made despite being tightly contested by Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

    "He made an impossible shot at the end and just an incredible performance," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Give him all the credit he deserves."

    The Warriors were relatively successful with their top priority of defending Harden, which was to limit his trips to the free throw line. Harden was 8-of-9 from the line, shooting two fewer free throws than he averages per game and one-third of the franchise-record-tying 27 he attempted during his 43-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist performance in Houston's previous game, a 113-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Golden State, however, couldn't prevent Harden from launching a career-high 23 3-pointers, one shy of Thompson's NBA record of 24. Harden made 10 3s, most of which were high-degree-of-difficulty stepbacks, a shot he has developed into arguably the league's most devastating weapon.

    "You don't. You can't," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said when asked how Harden could be defended when he's hitting his stepback. "Might as well give up. You can't. Can't guard him. Unless you foul and they don't call it. That'd be the only way."

    Harden, who was named Western Conference Player of the Month earlier in the day, has gotten tired of hearing complaints about all the whistles that are blown in his favor. He suggests that fans and media should appreciate his unique skill set in the midst of the most prolific stretch of his career.

    "I've got the total package," Harden said. "I get to the basket aggressive, and I shoot my shot. Don't foul me on my jump shot and then we won't have nothing to talk about. It's simple as that.

    "[People] talk too much about my fouls and not actually the greatness of what I'm doing out there on the court. That's what we need to focus on."
     
  2. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    So, what is the argument? Does anyone want to take a stab at it? Who else is in contention?
     
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  3. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    I think every player who ever played.

    Do you want to take a stab at narrowing it down? Or don't you want to commit, just yet.
     
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  4. Caesar

    Caesar Member

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    Morey has a very clear bias towards players who shoot 3's, which pretty much wipes out anyone below the 2000s other than specialists and a few others like Reggie and Ray who don't get to the line. He's also a numbers kind of guy that looks at accounting for pts scored and pts assisted on for real total career pts responsible for - so someone like Stockton and cp3 are better than MJ in his eyes. He prefers Mark Price to MJ.

    I can't remember what formula, but there was an interesting thing I saw that made an argument for Reggie Miller as the greatest offensive player of all time. Nerds.
     
    Red Chocolate likes this.
  5. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    It would probably be a combination of:
    1) team ortg with harden as the high usage anchor
    2) some measure of offensive plus/minus
    3) a box score measure (high scoring and assist volume ie point creation and high efficiency)
     
  6. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    Love The Beard but it's Wilt. Absolutely dominated his era without really "trying" if you know what I mean.
     
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  7. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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  8. Shaq2Yao

    Shaq2Yao Member

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  9. BigMaloe

    BigMaloe Contributing Member

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    I mean hes in an extremely secluded list.

    It ultimately comes to preference, bias, and generational influence.

    Imo, I agree with morey and say hes arguably the best but non committal in claiming it.

    Hes absolutely top 5, likely top 3 aaaaaaand arguably top 1.
     
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  10. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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  11. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Without closely looking at the numbers right now, I would narrow the field to: Wilt, Kareem, Oscar, Magic, Bird, Jordan, Shaq, Nash, Dirk, Kobe, LeBron, CP3, Durant, Curry, Harden.

    Not to say everyone in that group has a decent case, but I don’t think anyone outside that group has a decent case.
     
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  12. topfive

    topfive CF OG
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    Harden also made a handful of huge defensive plays last night.

    Sure wish we could get a video compilation of those. (hint hint, @heypartner)
     
    #11 topfive, Jan 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  13. MorningZippo

    MorningZippo Member

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    lol what the hell? This reads like someone that thinks they know what advanced stat people think, but really has no idea.

    Zero stats nerds think CP3 is better than MJ.
     
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  14. rockbox

    rockbox Contributing Member

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    Harden creates more points than Wilt or MJ did. Wilt and MJ scored more, but Harden creates more overall points. Imagine if Harden actually got to play with someone like Curry, Ray Allen or even Shawn Marion who excelled off the ball. It would be sick.
     
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  15. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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  16. RHU525

    RHU525 Member

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    This part of the article is soo funny to me. He was clearly looking at the official and telling he missed 2 out of bounds calls. That’s why he was saying that’s two times over and over again.
     
  17. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    That makes sense, but honestly when I saw it on TV I also thought he was making a statement about MVPs.
     
  18. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    I mean, thanks for the vote of confidence -- Steve Jones, Jr., but that's exactly how he's attacked since MDA arrived. He has the ball out in front of him, not just to attract fouls, but also so the pass is available at any time.

    Compare that to most guys like Ginobody, Wade, etc, who hold the ball through traffic like a football, which is great for protecting it, but you are committing yourself to not being able to pass, until you come out of that hold.
     
    #17 heypartner, Jan 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  19. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    I’m not totally convinced by the “points created” stat. Giving equal weight to an assist that leads to a 3 pointer and a made 3 pointer doesn’t make sense to me.
     
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  20. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    That’s interesting. Never thought about it like that.
     
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  21. mikol13

    mikol13 Protector of the Realm
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    It’s amazing to me that it’s taken a run like this from Harden for people to actually start watching.

    Let’s see if people actually dive in to how great he’s been for years and give him true respect.

    My guess is most are just along for the ride because it’s an easy story.
     
    amaru, RyanB and clutchdabear like this.
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