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Peak T-Mac or Peak Harden?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Mr Woods, Jan 22, 2021.

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Peak McGrady or Peak Harden?

  1. Tracy McGrady

    27.3%
  2. James Harden

    72.7%
  1. napalm06

    napalm06 Fertitta-McNair School of Management
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    Or peak Kevin Porter Jr? (Based on current Clutchfans reaction)
     
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  2. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous
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    LOL, if being clutch is defined as making big plays in the playoffs - playing playoff games instead of getting bounced in the first round is a prerequisite - but OK let's look at the numbers:.

    Harden in "Clutch" situations in the last few playoffs (Game within 5, last 5 minutes), accroding to NBA.com

    2020 Harden 63 eFG% 63 TS%
    2019 Harden 53 eFG% 64 TS%
    2018 Harden 29 eFG% 29 TS% (Rockets were 4-0 in these games, FWIW, thanks CP3)
    2017 Harden 38 eFG% 58 TS%

    Tmac in "Clutch" situations in 3 playoffs with the Rockets

    2008 Tmac 33 eFG% 42 TS%
    2007 Tmac 40 eFG% 55 TS%
    2005 Tmac 22 eFG% 24 TS%

    I don't really think there's a single thing anybody can argue that Tracy McGrady was better at than James Harden. LIke, maybe guarding Dirk Nowitzki? But even Harden got pretty good at that as Dirk slowed down.
     
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  3. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

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    Look, I am pissed that Harden ditched us, but this is not close....

    Harden is way better than TMac.

    DD
     
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  4. HorryForThree

    HorryForThree Member

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    No, he gets scrutiny for not having "big moments" in any round. Even in his first season with us, he lost in the first round to OKC and had a subpar game 6 - Parsons was the one who kept us in the game with his hot shooting if you remember. We have been fortunate to have had enough talent during Harden's tenure to have started first round matchups against teams we were way better than and have had multiple players play well.

    The point of this thread is focusing on Harden vs. McGrady peak. Harden has the more storied career and accomplishments. McGrady had two seasons with us where he was at his peak: the first season where we lost to the Mavs in 7, and the third season (to a lesser extent because even here he was recovering from back injuries and not as good as he was two years prior) when we lost to the Jazz in 7. In both series, he played unbelievably well and hit crucial late game shots. If you look at the lineups he was playing with, those teams were awful and especially against the Jazz, his teammates were dominated (Yao just couldn't keep up with Boozer).

    By McGrady's fourth season, his peak skills were gone and we were looking at a McGrady in decline. I'm saying that at peak McGrady, he was far more clutch in big moments with full stadiums and tons of pressure/intensity, often on the road, than Harden who, in those moments, crumbled and collapsed. Our best playoff run happened when CP3 took over at those moments and Harden stepped aside, and when CP3 got injured, so too did our championship aspirations. Even Eric Gordon has hit more big shots in his time here than Harden who has been, at best, average, and more often has been far less than average with a few really blatant cases of quitting.
     
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  5. Mr Woods

    Mr Woods Member

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    I would have bought this, but unfortunately, there’s already a hit piece on James Harden’s post season struggles by Zach Lowe:

    ‘In 15 games with the Rockets facing elimination since 2013, Harden has averaged 26 points on 40.6% shooting -- including 42-of-124 (33.9%) from deep -- with 90 assists and 79 turnovers, per ESPN Stats & Information research.’

    ‘In all playoff games during Harden's time in Houston in which the score was within five points during the last five minutes, Harden is 41-of-108 (38%) and 9-of-50 (18%) on 3s, per ESPN Stats & Info. He has dished 13 dimes and committed 19 turnovers. Houston is minus-19 in those minutes’
     
  6. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous
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    Both Adelman and the Van Gundy brothers gave TMac to do license with whatever he wanted - which was pull up for a 20 foot jumper more often than not.
     
  7. Patience

    Patience Contributing Member
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    Ok, I was going to let you roll with your "big moments" argument and nebulous definition of "peak", but you are saying Harden has been "at best, average" in the playoffs? Come on, man. That's ridiculous.

    Do you know what "average" is? Average is Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Terrence Jones. I was very disappointed in T-Mac as a Rocket, but I would never call him "average", lol. And Harden is one of the top 5 players of the last decade. You can pick on individual games here and there, but the numbers and playoff series wins don't lie.
     
  8. HorryForThree

    HorryForThree Member

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    I'm surprised this is even a debate. Harden is arguably the most gifted offensive player I've ever seen. He averaged over 30ppg multiple seasons and can make a 50-point output seem uneventful. It is crazy how effortless he makes the game feel.

    But he has had many horrible moments in the playoffs, and every year he becomes a shell of his regular season self, missing shots, turning the ball over, and exhibiting poor body language. That's a major part of his legacy that is tough to ignore, especially because it wasn't a single playoff series thing. Just think of the amazing game 6 comeback vs. the clippers that would not have been possible if harden stayed on the floor and if McHale did not have the guts to bench harden. That is not something that should happen to generational talents like Harden.
     
  9. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous
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    Believe it or not, this is better than TMac, who was a career 6-21 (33%) and 0% on 3 pointers in his Rockets clutch playoff career.

    Nobody's saying Harden is Robert Horry - but McGrady is as bad or worse by those very same metrics.
     
    #109 SamFisher, Jan 22, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  10. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous
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    Yet ironically his teams play double digit playoff games per year rather than losing in the first round so you can have these observations.

    Tmac fans hating on Harden for getting to the WCF's is - very TMac fan like.
     
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  11. Patience

    Patience Contributing Member
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    Harden career playoff averages as a Rocket:
    28.4 ppg, 7.1 apg, 5.7 rpg, 1.9 spg, .500 efg%, .578 TS%

    How is that a "shell of his regular season self?" Has he had a few bad games? Sure. But, again, he has played 85 games as a Rocket in the playoffs. The numbers don't lie, he is not a bad player in the playoffs. And his teams win series.
     
  12. rhino17

    rhino17 Member

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    this is not close
     
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  13. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    It shouldn’t be but some are letting a posterization of Shawn Bradley (an all time dunk btw) cloud their judgment.
     
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  14. bro2044

    bro2044 Member

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    Tmac/Yao, easy. Dwight was dominant for a few years, but his game never evolved, he couldn't hit FTs and could be taken out of games, and wouldn't even accept PnR roles when it would have boosted his and his team's performance. Yao wasn't as athletic, and he got caught on doubles and fronting, but I would take him in a heartbeat over Howard.
     
  15. bro2044

    bro2044 Member

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    I am voting Harden because I think objectively you have to, but I think it is closer than most people are thinking. You do have to take durability into account though, because thats part of the player honestly, but prime Tmac was outstanding, and I think I would trust him in the playoffs more than Harden... Tmac's teams couldn't make it past the Jazz and Mavs in those friggin first rounds, but Tmac was a beast if I remember and in a system not necessarily geared to high offense.
     
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  16. linvetb6

    linvetb6 Member

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    Talent wise I think TMAC... imagine Tmac with MDA and zero injuries....
     
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  17. bmelo

    bmelo Member

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    Cant debate it on Rockets forum where Tmac is hated and Harden had best success in this city since Hakeem. Id say Hardens career is superior, his teams were easily better. Different eras too. 1 on 1? Im taking prime Orlando/first Rockets year Tmac all day everyday. He really was at the time better than Kobe dominating him every time they met. Harden cant stop him on defense and since i saw what Bledsoe, Lu Dort, LeBron can do to Harden on defense when its prime time I think Tmac can defend him good(remember how he guard Dirk?). Hes longer, quicker and way jumpier - Harden hates defenders like this. If im building a team for years? Taking durability, one man system, endurance into account 10/10 I take Harden. He can basicaly play with 4 clutchfans members and still get to 2nd round lol
     
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  18. bmelo

    bmelo Member

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    Imagine Tmac taking 15 threes a game with spaced out offense and lines to drive and no shotblockers at the rim because everyone plays small and finesse now. These kids dont know what guys like Tmac and Kobe would do
     
  19. Patience

    Patience Contributing Member
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    Tmac ≠ Kobe
     
  20. Red Hova

    Red Hova Member

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    Keep n mind I think the rules were different in TMAC's prime than Hardens. IMO Harden definitely had the better career, but Harden was scared to play for Jeff Van Gundy preferring the MDA style Mc Grady was not and was never coached by a guy like MDA.
     
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