Houston Rockets guard James Harden keeps rewriting the history books with his offensive brilliance. A new stat has been created for him. What is it? Look.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden continues to amaze us with the feats that he completes with each game that he plays. If it’s not dropping 50+ points at a moment’s notice, or creating points for not only himself but for his teammates, there’s always something going with the Beard.
And you know what? It’s tough to know what this man is going to do next. As I’ve said before, he’s going to be shoo-in Hall of Famer and there will not be another player to wear No. 13 again. I can’t even fathom where this franchise would be if not for Harden as he’s the most important ingredient in this team’s quest for a third franchise championship.
Is 13 such an unlucky number? For the Houston Rockets‘ sake, I think not.
As the Denver Nuggets look like they’re not willing to accept their new-found leadership of the West and Golden State Warriors having looking restless for all the winning they’ve done over time, this is perfect opportunity for the Houston Rockets to pounce and get the highly-coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.
But any way, this man exudes such excellence that a new stat has been created for him. What is it?
Wait for it…
The step-back jumper! Harden is so prolific at making these types of shots — as well as the rest of the league trying to imitate him — this new stat of measuring shooting has been put into place.
Don’t you just love the step-back? It’s Harden’s finishing move and there have been plenty of victims that have fallen to his knockout punch. Ricky Rubio and Wesley Johnson are the most recent guys to date that could not keep with the series of pivots, fakes and the final step-back and they paid heavily for it. They were both on the ground, flat on their faces, figuring out what in the hell just happened.
It’s almost unfair the weapon he has in his arsenal and it’s like the ultimate cheat code that he only has access to.
But that’s what Harden does and it truly is one of my favorite moves outside of the Harden “bump” where he drives into the lane, forcing contact for him to draw a foul to get to the charity stripe.
Current measurements of this stat are extremely difficult to find but Harden likely leads the league in the amount of makes/attempts of this shot this season.
According to the great NBA Savant, Harden was 107-for-244 in step-back jumpers to which at a 43.9 percent clip, that’s quite remarkable.
C.J. McCollum was the closest person to attempt as much as Harden last season. He went 69-
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for-131 for a 52.7 percent clip. But I’d tilt the edge to Harden as the innovator, creator and pacifier of such a terrific basketball move.
Harden has started a phenomenon with a smorgasbord of NBA players — particularly Luka Doncic — that are trying to yield the same results as Harden.
In the Houston Rockets 94-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle spoke to the Chron’s Jonathan Feigen about this notion and here’s what he said:
“It’s a pretty remarkable phenomenon,” Carlisle said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been anything quite like this. They’re extremely effective. He’s extremely effective. It’s bringing new metrics into play and things like that. There’s a lot of people studying it, looking at it. … One I heard this year is there is now a statistic on stepback shots, which I had never heard of before this year.”
And with as long as Carlisle has been in this league as a player as well as a coach, it’s good to hear this from him.
But with all things considered, let us all enjoy what we’re watching during Harden’s prime. It has been truly a blessing. I can’t wait to see who will be the next victim!
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Harden is averaging 36.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists with a shooting line of .437/.359/.878 through 62 games this season.