James Harden is dominating the league, and he has been for some time now.
At this point, there’s very little he can do to surprise you. Just a couple of days ago he went for 55 points in back-to-back games. That’s not surprising.
Then you see stats like this, and you gain some real perspective:
James Harden is on pace to shatter Michael Jordan's record for Points Per 100 Possessions in a season per @bball_ref (as far back as 1973-74 when possessions can most reliably be estimated): https://t.co/dj1XQDdp4i pic.twitter.com/cUcdDm0L5e— Mike Lynch (@SportInfo247) January 17, 2019
Not only is Harden on pace to score the most points per 100 possessions since the stat’s been recorded, but he is going to be the only player to average at least 47 points per 100 possessions. This isn’t even the craziest part.
Let’s do some stat comparisons, shall we?
In ‘86-’87, Michael Jordan averaged:
37.1 PPG, 5.2 REB, 4.6 APG, 3.3 TO, 27.8 FGA, 11.9 FTA
In ‘05-’06, Kobe Bryant averaged:
35.4 PPG, 5.3 REB, 4.5 APG, 3.1 TO, 27.2 FGA, 10.2 FTA
41 games into ‘18-’19, James Harden is averaging:
35.4 PPG, 6.3 TRB, 8.5 APG, 5.6 TO, 23.4 FGA, 11.6 FTA
In these top three season of points per 100 possessions, Jordan actually shot more free throws per game than Harden did, and Kobe still shot double-digit free throws. Harden actually averages at least a full rebound more than they did, and he averages four more assists per game than they did. Included is the turnover amounts so there isn’t any bickering.
The most stunning of these stats- aside from Harden averaging more rebounds and assists- is the FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS. We’re not talking one or two field goal attempts. We’re talking four attempts more per game. A minimum of 8 points are left there on the stat sheet; 12 if you’re Harden, probably. That’s a crazy number. Harden more than makes up for his turnovers with his assists and shot selection.
I dug up two more per-100-possessions stats to spice this up a little bit more.
From the start of the season until Dec. 8 in their loss against the Mavericks, Harden was averaging 41.6 points per 100 possessions, via NBA.com. That means that in a little over a month's worth of games, He raised his points per 100 possessions nearly 6 points in a month’s time. So- and should’ve seen this coming- from Dec. 11 until now, Harden has averaged an insane 51.9 points a game.
OH. MY. GOODNESS. Just a month of absolutely balling out of his mind.
Want some more crazy stats for you? Cause I have some. Well, it doesn’t matter because you’re hearing them anyway.
Those back-to-back 55+-point games he had? He’s the first guy to do it since Wilt Chamberlain back in 1962. He did something offensively comparable to Wilt Chamberlain- the only guy who was at least 6-foot in his era. That’s a lie, but still, it was a different era.
That last game in which scored 58 points was also the most unassisted points scored in a game. He just beat out *checks notes* himself, by one point in a record he set *checks notes* two days beforehand.
After scoring 58 points on Wednesday, James Harden has scored 115 points over his last 2 games.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 17, 2019
None have been assisted on. pic.twitter.com/nmqhB1k17d
That was also the third-most points (115) scored in two games behind- you guessed it- Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant (both 118) in the last 30 years.
Again: all 115 points were unassisted.
Harden is now the the leader in 50-point games among active players with 13 such games, passing LeBron’s 12, and he did it in six less seasons. He’s now entered the ranks of the top five longest streaks of games in which a player has averaged 40 points per game.
With 58 points tonight, James Harden is averaging over 40 PPG for the last 20 games. The most consecutive games averaging 40 PPG:— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) January 17, 2019
Wilt Chamberlain - 515
Elgin Baylor - 33
Kobe Bryant - 23
Rick Barry - 22
James Harden - 20 pic.twitter.com/wGgyE4wMLq
WE’RE COMING FOR YOU, WILT.
It would be nice to say that there’s not much more you can say about Harden’s dominance, and wrap it in a nice, neat bow, but as I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. We are truly watching history in the making.