Is James Harden a Top Five Player?
*Photo via USA Today
James Harden has come a long way from being the Sixth Man of the Year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden has become the face of the Houston Rockets franchise while leading the way to three straight playoff appearances. We’ve seen his points, rebounds and assists get better and better; leading into this season where Harden finished second in MVP voting. With this being said, is James Harden a top five player in the league?
Before we go in depth on whether he is top five or not, let me clarify he is NOT top four. My top four is in the following order; Lebron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. I honestly believe those four are without a question, in the top five in the league. The order is rearrangeable. Now back to the main focus is James Harden top five? I’ve gone back and forth on this almost all season and throughout the playoffs. Without question, James Harden is a superstar, well an offensive superstar.
Which leads me to rank him outside of the top five. Furthermore, he has not been truly effective and consistent in the playoffs. Now before you bite my head off for calling him inconsistent, since being a postseason starter for the Rockets he’s shot above 43 percent from the field just 11 times, while shooting under 43 percent 17 times, with 13 of those 17 being under 40 percent shooting.
James Harden as great as he has become still has “no show” moments on the biggest stage, for that reason I ranked him outside of the top five. For me the fifth best player is currently non-other than Russell Westbrook, he’s simply more proven in my eyes.
James Harden is also just 25 years old, with so much career left; if his defense becomes constant, and his overall play is more consistent, he will easily become a top five player.