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James Harden is a superstar

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Post#1 James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 12:30 am by bastillon

I've been watching this guy ever since the start of this season. James Harden is a superstar. he doesn't have flashy raw numbers, but he doesn't have a flaw in his game. he's black Manu Ginobili who's gonna be in the league for a LONG time. dude will rock this league for years to come.

one thing in particular brought my attention - how rarely he makes any mistakes. he doesn't force illadvised shots. he doesn't turn the ball over despite being primarily a creator. he shoots tons of free throws. in these categories dude is sensational in a way unseen in NBA history. he commits 1.5 TOV while going for 4 apg and being a shot creator - unseen. he shoots 7.5 FTA and 10 FGA which gives you a Dwight Howard ratio of FTA/FGA. there have been many guys in NBA history who shot this many free throws... but they also shot FGA twice as often - unseen. combine all of that and you're left with 130+ ORtg. prime Steve Nash or prime Charles Barkley... came close to this kind of efficiency. I don't believe Harden will be able to maintain this level of play but either way with his style of play efficiency will be through the roof. right now he's playing at efficiency unseen in NBA history.

Harden is also excellent defender
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63TDVWnZ ... e=youtu.be
not only he can play man defense on any NBA star, but also plays passing lanes very well (deflections man!), makes excellent rotations, takes charges and most importantly he does all of that without fouling or gambling. what stands out the most in Harden's defense is again lack of mistakes. he makes the right rotation, acts the right way, fouls when he should. on top of all of that, he's probably the best defensive rebounding guard in the league.

this guy deserves a lot more exposure as a star. everyone treats him as great bench player, but he's clearly more than that. if Westbrook wasn't such a knucklehead Harden could've been posting 23/7/6 easily IMO. dude is already avging 4 ast (1.5 tov, mind you) and 6 rebounds while playing merely 32 mpg and despite lack of touches. Harden is not just a great bench player, he's a clear cut superstar in terms of impact. I look at him playing and every time he's involved in a play something good happens. I don't think you can make a case Westbrook is OKC's 2nd best player. not anymore. Harden has clearly surpassed him and see him as a guy who may surpass Durant in a couple of years. Durant will always be a much more potent scorer, but Harden is just a hell lot more versatile. he's a playmaker, he's a outside stopper, he's a phenomenal team defender.

with all that talk about young athletic PGs, with all those guys who play anti-basketball and can't even make a jumpshot reasonably often, Harden is finally who plays basketball the way it should be played. he makes right decisions, plays under control, doesn't do any flashy stuff and yet is extremely effective. for instance whereas Rose or Westbrook can get to the basket much more easily, they can't draw fouls nearly as well because they're trying to score or pass without even acknowledging the defense and what it gives them. Harden reads the defense and either passes or tries to draw foul (sort of like Billups does), direct scoring is only then the best option. I love that. he's not playing with his talent, he's playing with his mind.
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Post#2 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 12:40 am by orangeparka

You're absolutely right.

They need to trade that chucker KD and let Harden take over.
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Post#3 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 12:50 am by tsherkin

"Superstar" is clearly some massive hyperbole, but yes, James Harden is an excellent player who has a very bright future.
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Post#4 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 12:52 am by bastillon

25 PER and .270 WS48. superstar is not a hyperbole at all.
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Post#5 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:04 am by tsherkin

bastillon wrote:25 PER and .270 WS48. superstar is not a hyperbole at all.


And yet playing alongside the productive players that he does and coming off of the bench are both factors that play strongly into enabling his level of productivity. Likewise playing limited minutes.

Also, the insane and unsustainable foul-draw level he's managing right now is affecting this discussion.

Harden is good, but let the season even out the fouls a little and then see what happens.

He's got the potential to be a superstar, but he sure as heck isn't one right now, especially with the impact on a 7-game sample of an unsustainable trend.
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Post#6 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:11 am by bastillon

lol@playing with productive players. Harden makes the best impact when those players are out of the game because they're taking away his touches. Harden's game doesn't have ANYTHING to do with Durant or Westbrook because he's a pick and roll player and these guys aren't even involved in any of those plays. most of the time he's picking defense apart with Collison and Ibaka as his teammates on the floor. also, Westbrook is not productive this season. he's as bad as it gets.

limited mins have no impact here either. it's not like he's playing 20 mpg, he's playing 32 mpg so what, Kobe plays a couple more mins ? Harden has also proven to be equally effective when playing extended mins.
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Post#7 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:17 am by Jvaughn

tsherkin wrote:"Superstar" is clearly some massive hyperbole, but yes, James Harden is an excellent player who has a very bright future.


This.

He has really high potential, but there is nothing about him, present or future, that says superstar.
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Post#8 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:18 am by fallacy

Just came here to say; I agree that Harden tends to play better when both KD and Westbrook are out of the game. He's at his best running the pick n roll.


Numbers might not back that up, but this is coming from a guy who has never missed a Harden game in his NBA career. Just the eye test thing.
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Post#9 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:27 am by bastillon

Jvaughn wrote:
tsherkin wrote:"Superstar" is clearly some massive hyperbole, but yes, James Harden is an excellent player who has a very bright future.


This.

He has really high potential, but there is nothing about him, present or future, that says superstar.


he's posting 17/6/4 with great defense and doesn't make mistakes (TS 65%, TOV 1.5). on top of that he's got limited amount of touches. this is pretty much Manu Ginobili who is less flashy and more durable. I've always considered Manu a superstar despite unspectacular raw numbers.

Harden's skillset is just extremely valuable. unstoppable pick and roll player, fantastic in transition, great defense, great rebounding, just a complete player.
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Post#10 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:31 am by tsherkin

bastillon wrote:lol@playing with productive players. Harden makes the best impact when those players are out of the game because they're taking away his touches. Harden's game doesn't have ANYTHING to do with Durant or Westbrook


Before we go farther, understand that I am not implying that his game is based off of those players. I'm saying that they are a barrier to comprehensive analysis. He moves really well off of the ball, he runs the floor well, he does a little of everything.


limited mins have no impact here either. it's not like he's playing 20 mpg, he's playing 32 mpg so what, Kobe plays a couple more mins ? Harden has also proven to be equally effective when playing extended mins.


7 games.

0.7 FTA/FGA.

Give it more time.

[/thread]

Jeez.

Let his game speak for itself. "Superstar" is hyperbole because he's not playing at an entirely sustainable level, he isn't playing full starter's minutes and he doesn't have the keys to the team. As I said, he might BECOME a superstar, but he isn't one right now. Definitively.
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Post#11 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:40 am by bastillon

wait a second. you're saying that he's not a superstar NOW, because the level of his play is unsustainable ?

I don't know, I think it is. FTA/FGA ratio might drop but he's 29% 3pt shooter so that'll go up. either way, the reason I'm saying Harden is a superstar is based on the eye test, numbers just prove my point. he's that efficient because he doesn't make mistakes. his volumes, if anything, are limited by his role, not inflated. Harden could easily be 1B option on Thunder like Westbrook was last year. you'd have to see him play with that awful bench unit to understand how valuable he is. OKC's bench usually performs better than its starting five.
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Post#12 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:46 am by orangeparka

In that case, OKC should be way better.

Westbrook = DRose
James Harden = Superstar
KD = Real superstar
Ibaka = Defensive beast
Perkins = very solid defensive center
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Post#13 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:48 am by tsherkin

bastillon wrote:wait a second. you're saying that he's not a superstar NOW, because the level of his play is unsustainable ?


No, I'm saying that he's not positioned as a superstar. He's not used as one. He doesn't face the same kind of consistent defensive gameplan attacking him as a primary option, so he hasn't proven anything.

FTA/FGA ratio might drop


Will, bast. Will. There's no way a perimeter player maintains 0.7 FTA/FGA, none at all. Even Wade didn't do that in 05 and 06, right when the rules had just changed.

but he's 29% 3pt shooter so that'll go up.


Yeah, but the marginal return on that compared to his career 3P% won't be the same as the drop in FTA, especially given the 90%+ FT that Harden is managing, which is also atypical.

his volumes, if anything, are limited by his role, not inflated.


I believe that is true of his PPG and other raw averages, but certainly not his efficiency.

Harden could easily be 1B option on Thunder like Westbrook was last year. you'd have to see him play with that awful bench unit to understand how valuable he is. OKC's bench usually performs better than its starting five.


Oh, I've watched. I saw him torching Portland, I watched him through last season, I respect Harden's game. But this kind of thread is as ridiculous as a lot of the other reactionary threads we see here.

Harden is good, but he hasn't proven ANYTHING that suggests he's a superstar.
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Post#14 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:56 am by Rapcity_11

I love James Harden's game.

He really is a lot like Ginobili, and with production like Manu in slightly higher minutes, that is a superstar player. Now we can't label him a superstar yet though. Gotta wait more than a handful of games. Although all signs (in my eyes) point to Harden being at least a perennial all-star.
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Post#15 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 1:58 am by bastillon

orangeparka wrote:In that case, OKC should be way better.

Westbrook = DRose
James Harden = Superstar
KD = Real superstar
Ibaka = Defensive beast
Perkins = very solid defensive center


Westbrook is a knucklehead who's managing to commit 5 tov a game and shoot 45% TS. he's absolutely terrible on defense as well. he makes some good plays with his steals but is always torched by his opponent because he gambles without success. Westbrook is a negative right now, and a huge one at that.

Durant is a superstar.

Ibaka is a solid big, and certainly not a defensive beast.

Perkins is an overrated scrub and one of the worst centers in the league. Collison is much better on both ends of the floor. Perkins can't even play defense now without KG to tell him what to do. he's constantly missing his defensive assignments, he can't boxout to save his life and Brandan Haywood is **** on him all game long. not to mention that Perkins is grabbing less defensive rebounds than Harden... actually Harden's defensive rebounding leads OKC.

so basically OKC have 2 superstars, group of solid role players (Cook, Maynor, Ibaka, Thabo, Collison) and absolute scrubs like Perkins or team cancers like Westbrook. as a result OKC is great offensively so far, but lacks interior defense and defensive rebounding where Perkins is an absolute failure this season. also, it's tough to believe they're that good offensively with Westbrook and Perkins committing 7 turnovers between themselves.
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Post#16 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 2:04 am by GreenDreamer

Superstar is probably going overboard, but he is really good. I rate him above "The Fastest Vegetable in the World," Russell Westbrook. If they traded Russell for a real low post presence that team could pretty much punch their ticket for the Finals. Just start Maynor at the point. He is actually a point guard and not a moron. Keep Harden as the Sixth Man, a la Ginobili, because it really seems to work for them.
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Post#17 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 2:08 am by fallacy

Harden's early game numbers. Sustainable/will change

17.0 ppg - Sustainable. He will finish the season around this number

4.1 apg - Will change. I think he'll end the season around the 5 a game number. He's a great passer

5.9 rpg. Unsustainable. Rebounds will be around 4.5 a game when the season is over.

.449 fg%. Sustainable. I want to say he'll finish higher but he's never been a great mid-range shooter

.294 3pt% - Will change. His career average coming into this season was around 36%, it'll go up.

7.4 FTA - Unsustainable. Expect his season to finish around 6 FTA a game.

.904 ft% - Sustainable. After the all-star break last year he shot 92%

24.4 PER. Unsustainable. Will probably be around 22 at the end of the season, which is still very good

.648 ts%. Sustainable (to an extent). He was a 62 ts% player after the Jeff Green trade. I expect him to finish somewhere around there.

131 OffRtg. Sustainable (to an extent). Again, he was around this number last year after Green was traded. He actually finished the whole year with a 119 OffRtg last year. I expect him to be in the 120's this year (which is great)
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Post#18 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 2:14 am by bastillon

No, I'm saying that he's not positioned as a superstar. He's not used as one. He doesn't face the same kind of consistent defensive gameplan attacking him as a primary option, so he hasn't proven anything.


that's untrue, he wouldn't be able to create as many open looks for his teammates without consistent defensive attention. in every game of this season Harden was always double teamed in the pick and roll situations and if he wasn't he drove to the lane and forced FTA. whenever Harden is playing with the ball, defense makes him a primary focus and still can't stop him from making a good play.

I believe that is true of his PPG and other raw averages, but certainly not his efficiency.

depends on his role. if he just shoots spot up threes after Westbrook was trapped and needed someone to bail him out, Harden's efficiency could drop significantly. if he creates for himself in the pick and roll situations and in transition like he normaly does, he can still put up 60+% TS quite easily. bear in mind that Harden improved in the playoffs both times he went there, where shot creation becomes much more important. the reason why he improved is that he's more effective when he creates for himself than when others create for him (like Steve Nash in Dallas vs Steve Nash in Phx). Harden managed to put up 63% TS in last year's PS and I think he can be near that level for this season if his role doesn't change drastically.

Harden is good, but he hasn't proven ANYTHING that suggests he's a superstar.


I rate players based on their abilities, not accolades. to me half the world might even consider Monta Ellis as much better player than Harden and even name Monta league's MVP. it doesn't change a damn in my view because I consider myself to be much better informed than vast majority of NBA fanbase. I could question most accolades in NBA's history so why put much stock in this in the first place ?

I've watched tons of players from NBA's history. I've seen all time greats and I've seen GOATs. when I see someone who impresses me it means that he's just playing very well. and yes, based on what I've seen this year, I think Harden is clearly playing like a superstar level player. dude is playing alongside one of the best players in the league and blows him out of the water across the board except for volume scoring. that means something.
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Post#19 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 2:19 am by bastillon

GreenDreamer wrote:Superstar is probably going overboard, but he is really good. I rate him above "The Fastest Vegetable in the World," Russell Westbrook. If they traded Russell for a real low post presence that team could pretty much punch their ticket for the Finals. Just start Maynor at the point. He is actually a point guard and not a moron. Keep Harden as the Sixth Man, a la Ginobili, because it really seems to work for them.


exactly. I can't see how Magic wouldn't trade Dwight for Westbrook, Perkins, Ibaka and first rounder given the options they have right now. Westbrook is extremely overrated, as well as Perkins. imagine that team: Maynor-Harden-Durant-Collison-Dwight :O
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Post#20 Re: James Harden is a superstar
Thu Jan 5, 2012 2:25 am by coldgrip1

A lot of fools look like they're about to break out when they're playing the 6th man, being guarded by other teams' 3rd and 4th option defenders, not to mention less minutes = higher efficiency (don't even bother arguing this).

Start the guy, let him play 40mpg and see how "superstar" he is. I don't buy it. He's a great 6th and will be an above-average starter when he draws better defenders and more sophisticated defensive schemes more focused on 1st/2nd offensive options. Watching him dribble into a double team is comedy. Conclusion: No he's not a superstar now. Not now, not later. Baring something else I see from him, he will never make the all-star either. I see him as a solid starter if he ever starts. Nothing more. You heard it here first. I'm gonna bump this thread when he starts.
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