James Harden will soon surpass LeBron James and Kevin Durant, according to a new projection.
FiveThirtyEight has a new NBA player projection system named CARMELO. It forecasts players future performances based strictly on currently available stats. No human touch. The data website used their new toy to do what everybody is doing right now, rank the top NBA players. Tis the season.
We’ve projected the next six seasons of wins above replacement (WAR) for all 572 players in our database. Then we added the cumulative WAR totals over six seasons, with a slight tweak to reflect upside potential.
The goal was to look at the reality of the league in a few years, not the upcoming season. It accounts for the fact that Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan didn't make the list. Fifty-three players were ranked, and Dwight Howard, still just 29 years old, was nowhere to be found. Kyle Lowry, also 29 years old, is 37th. I'm not saying 36-year-old Dwight Howard is going to be good, but the next few years should have put him on this list somewhere
Harden ranks third out of the 53 players listed. Anthony Davis sits in the number one spot while Stephen Curry takes number two.
It's important to remember that people didn't decide this, machines did. And, there are a lot of factors that machines can't measure.
Note: The WAR projections don't consider injuries or minutes limitations.