- James Harden is scoring at an all-time rate.
- However, Harden risks seeing his legacy look more like Carmelo Anthony’s than Michael Jordan’s.
- He still has a chance to change the narrative.
After notching a ridiculous 36.1 points per game last season, James Harden has upped his scoring output even further.
He’s currently on pace to have the highest scoring average since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962-63. At 39.2 ppg, he would even leave Michael Jordan’s incredible 1986-87 scoring display of 37.1 ppg in the dust.
And yet, Harden still somehow feels light-years away from those all-time greats.
In fact, if Harden doesn’t make a finals appearance soon, he might draw a closer comparison to a rich man’s Carmelo Anthony.
Even though Anthony’s career has been depressing lately, prime Carmelo, much like Harden, was nearly unstoppable on the offensive end. He could score in a myriad of different ways. He was strong, quick, crafty, and just like Harden, the holes in his game kept him from winning at the highest level.
Postseason Struggles Raise Questions About ‘Killer Instinct’
While analysts like to criticize James Harden’s playoff performances, it’s important to note that he’s been good compared to mere mortals. Over the past three postseasons, he’s averaged 29.5 ppg. That would rank third all-time in postseason scoring average. The problem is that his efficiency tanks every year in the playoffs.
Even Carmelo Anthony upped his game in the playoffs during his deep runs with Denver and New York. Harden, on the other hand, has dropped in field goal percentage and points per game in each of the last four postseasons, compared to the regular season.
To be fair, Harden’s teams have run into Golden State four of the past five years. Just the fact that the…