State of the League : JAMES HARDEN TO BROOKLYN

Before the season started, I was given an idea for a blog topic from a friend of mine. The idea was to start a conversation of players I thought could be elite 2nd and 3rd options on championship teams but are currently a number one option on a meddling contender. Players like James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. 

The Western Conference is Top heavy with the likes of Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard. Not to mention, Lebron looking to make a run at his 5th NBA Title. The East in comparison may look easier to play in for some. But treadmill contenders like Boston, Miami, and Milwaukee have improved in the offseason and may provide a real threat.

Following the Nets blockbuster trade, the main point of comparison I am going to focus on now is James Harden’s impact as a second/third option compared to Giannis’ & Joel’s impact as a number 1 option.

Joel Embiid

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2017-1823PHINBAC636330.38.116.8.4831.03.4.3087.013.4.527.5145.77.4.7692.38.711.03.20.61.83.73.322.9
2018-1924PHINBAC646433.79.118.7.4841.24.1.3007.814.6.535.5178.210.1.8042.511.113.63.70.71.93.53.327.5
2019-2025PHINBAC515129.57.515.7.4771.13.4.3316.412.3.517.5126.98.5.8072.88.911.63.00.91.33.13.423.0
2020-2126PHINBAC111131.38.215.3.5361.23.0.3947.012.3.570.5747.58.8.8451.69.811.52.91.41.53.22.125.0
CareerNBA22022030.58.016.6.4821.13.5.3226.913.1.526.5176.88.6.7952.49.111.53.10.81.83.53.324.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2021.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2017-1823MILNBAPF757536.79.918.7.5290.61.9.3079.316.8.554.5456.58.5.7602.18.010.04.81.51.43.03.126.9
2018-1924MILNBAPF727232.810.017.3.5780.72.8.2569.314.5.641.5996.99.5.7292.210.312.55.91.31.53.73.227.7
2019-2025MILNBAPF636330.410.919.7.5531.44.7.3049.515.0.631.5896.310.0.6332.211.413.65.61.01.03.73.129.5
2020-2126MILNBAPF111131.29.317.8.5201.54.9.2967.812.9.606.5616.210.0.6181.68.510.15.51.31.23.53.426.2
CareerNBA53947432.47.414.0.5260.62.1.2856.811.9.569.5484.96.7.7191.77.28.94.31.21.32.83.020.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2021.

James Harden

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2011-1222OKCNBASG62231.45.010.1.4911.84.7.3903.15.4.579.5825.06.0.8460.53.64.13.71.00.22.22.416.8
2018-1929HOUNBAPG787836.810.824.5.4424.813.2.3686.011.3.528.5419.711.0.8790.85.86.67.52.00.75.03.136.1
2019-2030HOUNBASG686836.59.922.3.4444.412.4.3555.59.9.556.54310.211.8.8651.05.56.67.51.80.94.53.334.3
2020-2131HOUNBASG8836.37.516.9.4443.19.0.3474.47.9.556.5376.67.5.8830.64.55.110.40.90.84.31.824.8
CareerNBA84162834.37.416.7.4432.87.7.3634.69.0.511.5277.58.8.8580.84.65.36.31.60.53.72.625.2
9 seasonsHOUNBA62162137.08.719.6.4433.39.0.3625.410.6.512.5268.910.4.8620.95.16.07.71.80.64.42.729.6
3 seasonsOKCNBA220726.73.88.6.4441.53.9.3702.44.7.506.5293.64.3.8350.52.93.42.51.10.31.62.512.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2021.

The last time Harden was a 3rd option he would 6th man of the year in 2011-2012.  We can expect a little more out of his stat lines as a number 3 with the Nets. I think we see him get about 15-20 shots a game on avg and put up around 25 points 8 rebound 8 Assists.

With KD and Kyrie showing out as an elite 1&2 punch early on this season. Harden is the talent that the roster needed to take it over the top. They have a chance to always have the best player on the floor.  A championship in year one would be nice but should not be their only measure of success. The Nets have this core locked down for at least one more year before having to worry about resigning James Harden. That should give them more than enough time to iron out the normal wrinkle or 2 that occurs following massive roster shake ups. IF The Lakers & Nets do meet in the finals, I got The Nets in 7 games.

Signing off,

Ryley J

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