Photo Credit: Golden State Of Mind
Over the last month, James Harden has put together one of the most impressive MVP pushes in recent memory. Harden has single-handedly carried the Rockets back to prominence after the team looked lost for the first month and a half of the season. His last fourteen games have been absolutely astonishing. In the last twenty years, there have been three players to have at least 14 consecutive games with 30+ points. Tracy McGrady had 14 straight in 2003, in the same season Kobe Bryant had 16, and James Harden is currently at 14 and counting.
Over the last fourteen games, Harden is averaging an astronomical 40 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds. His offensive explosion has been incredible and has been compared tirelessly to Kobe’s 16 game stretch of February 2003, but Harden’s assist numbers in addition to his scoring may make this stretch the most impressive offensive run in the last twenty years.
It’s not the fact that Harden is putting up big numbers that is so impressive, it’s how he is doing it. Over the past fourteen games, Harden is shooting 40% from three-point range on 15(!!) attempts per game. That kind of volume combined with his efficiency is ridiculous. Not to mention, the majority of his three-point attempts are of the pull-up variety. During this fourteen game stretch, 75% of his scoring has come from the three-pointers and free throws. He has been getting to the line 14 times per game and shooting 89.4% from the stripe. Combining his ability to score from long range and his ability to get to the basket. Harden has become one of the most intriguing and special offensive talents the league has seen. His fourteen game streak of 30+ points epitomizes that.
Before Harden’s recent explosion, Houston had stumbled to 12-14 record. Since then, Houston has gone 11-3 and has taken down Golden State, OKC, Boston, San Antonio, and Denver. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the MVP front-runner for the majority of the year, but if Harden and the Rocket’s recent surge continues it would be no surprise to see Harden collect his second MVP.