James Harden: The One Man Offense


When we talk about the greatest basketball player of the era, most people think of LeBron or Curry. But the case can be made for James Harden as well. Perhaps Harden isn’t the best all around player but on the offensive side, he is certainly one of the best players of the day.

Harden is a different type of player than Curry or LeBron. He has his own way of being a top scorer. One that is, nonetheless, incredibly effective.

Harden’s Style Of Scoring  

Just like Curry with his incredible range, Harden has brought the game out to the perimeter. And while Harden can also make impressive three-point shots, he is more likely to beat his defenders on the dribble.

The Houston Rockets have based their entire offense on Harden’s ability to beat defenders one-on-one. The Rockets like to take advantage of the mismatch. Well, they like to let Harden take advantage of it. Their basic offensive set is to set a pick for Harden, let the defenders switch, and see what James can do against a less skilled defender.

It isn’t the most interesting kind of basketball but it works for the Rockets. And it’s all because of Harden’s quickness and supreme ball handling skills.

This style of offense could mean a shift in the NBA. The Rockets are now giving Harden about 17 isos per game. That means that around 17 times per game, the team isn’t running a play but just letting Harden try to beat his guy while the rest of the team just gets out of the way or looks for a kick out pass.

But it takes a special player to run this kind of offense, and we don’t see a James Harden too often. So perhaps it’s too early to be lamenting a drastic change in offensive style in the NBA.


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