It’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Houston Rockets, but one thing that’s been as consistent as ever is the play of James Harden. The Beard is leading the league once again in scoring, averaging 30.6 points per game, and that rate has helped push him in the league’s top 100 of all-time in total points scored, according to The Athletic’s Alykhan Bijani.
Last night, James Harden passed Jerry Stackhouse to become number 100 on the NBA’s All Time Scoring List. James Harden is in his 9th season and currently has 16,420 points. Jerry Stackhouse was in the NBA for 18 seasons and posted 16,409 points. #Rockets— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) December 4, 2018
Harden’s 611 points through 20 games this season has him on pace for 2,417 points if he plays every game the rest of the season, or an additional 1,806 points for the year. That would bring his all-time total to 18,226 and bump him all the way up to number 70 all-time, passing other former Rockets such as Otis Thorpe, Calvin Murphy, and Dwight Howard in the process.
Murphy was previously regarded as the best point guard in franchise history, and he currently sits in 72nd place after playing 13 seasons. Harden very well could pass him after his ninth.
And if Harden were to score another 2,300 the following season, which is certainly not out of the question and right in line with his scoring numbers from the previous several seasons, he would jump all the way up to 40th all-time with 20,526 points, passing Julius Erving, Tracy McGrady, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Bob Lanier, and John Stockton. He’d be nipping on the heels of all-time greats George Gervin and David Robinson after just 10 seasons of action. Quite a feet for a guy who came off the bench exclusively during his first three seasons in the league.
He would then be about 6,800 points away from the top 10 of all-time as it currently stands. And though you never know what will happen with a player’s health and career trajectory, and Harden’s scoring will inevitably begin to slow down at some point, you have to feel that’s a relatively realistic and attainable figure for The Beard.
Oh, and it would also see him pass Hakeem Olajuwon on the way.