Houston Rockets: James Harden has shot his way into Top 5 all-time

James Harden of the Houston Rockets(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
James Harden of the Houston Rockets(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

We all know that Houston Rockets guard James Harden will be an all-time great but he already is in the Top 5 all-time in this key stat. What is it?

The Houston Rockets might be kicking the tires on pursuing a new head coach in Jeff Van Gundy, but nevertheless plan to fly forward for seasons to come with James Harden. With NBA action suspended, an opportunity presents itself to view the progress of Harden’s career in multiple all-time categories.  He’s in the Top 5 all-time in one key stat; but first, let’s take a look at where he stacks up against the numbers in other assortments.

While the Houston Rockets’ guard still has gas in the tank, the following top 100 rankings provide a snapshot of where the left-handed shooter stands in major NBA categories right at this very moment.

Total steals, Rank: 69th all-time

Harden has received criticism at times throughout his career for allegedly not emphasizing defense like he does offense. However, one stat, in particular, shows evidence that Harden can indeed shine while guarding others. Specifically, Harden has achieved the 69th highest amount of steals in NBA history. In his nine-year career, Harden has accumulated 1,295.

Career assists, Rank: 61st all-time

The Houston Rockets have made groundbreaking transitions to iso ball as well as to playing without a true big following the Clint Capela trade. And in regard to isolation offense, many Harden critics cite the prodigious shooter’s apparent disinterest to pass the rock to open teammates.

However, to Harden’s credit, his 5,193 assists equate to 61st place in the history of the NBA. In effect, only 60 players have notched more assists in their careers than Harden.

Chief among them, the all-time assists leader in the Association remains Hall-of-Famer, John Stockton. The Jazz legend initiated passes on scoring plays to his teammates a whopping 15,806 separate times.

To put Stockton’s astronomical assists total into perspective, consider the following. LeBron James represents the NBA’s leading active player in assists. And though the Laker currently ranks eighth all-time in assists, he has yet to achieve two-thirds of Stockton’s total—or more simply, James has yet to reach 10,000 assists in his career.

Free throw percentage, Rank: 45th all-time

A player getting to the line and making a high percentage of free throws provides immense value for a team. Each free throw made literally can make the difference between winning or losing a ballgame.

Harden remains lethal at the charity stripe. His efficiency of nearly 86 percent in making free throws constitutes the 45th best showing of any player to have ever taken foul shots in the history of the NBA.

Total points, Rank: 40th all-time

Many consider Harden a prolific scorer. But did you know that Harden has already achieved the 40th highest total of points scored in the history of the league? Currently, Harden’s 20,723 points remain less than 100 away from surpassing “The Admiral”—Hall of Famer, David Robinson.

Free throws made, Rank: 16th all-time

Harden exhibits one of the highest free throw efficiency ratings in the NBA. But even more impressively, he’s made a lot of shots from the foul line—6,223 to be exact. Only fifteen players in the history of the league have made more in their careers.

Three-pointers made, Rank: 5th all-time

While Harden has not yet proven himself as one of the top-200 most efficient three-point shooters in league history, he has a major Hall of Fame-worthy stat to build upon. Specifically,

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Harden resides in very exclusive company as he has made the fifth most three-point shots of any player to have ever suited up in the NBA.

Dare it be said, Harden stands a chance at finishing in first place in made three-pointers at the end of his career. To unseat Hall of Famer, Ray Allen—whose 2,973 made three-pointers remains tops in league history—Harden will have to do some uphill climbing. Harden has logged 2,296 three-pointers to date and last season finished with a career-best of 378.

At a conservative estimate of 175 made threes per season, Harden should be able to overtake Allen’s record in three to four more years of action. However, by the time Harden gets there, Stephen Curry’s current total of nearly 200 more made three-pointers than Harden might also surpass Allen’s record.

Next. Jeff Van Gundy is a retread the Rockets deserve. dark

In effect, half a decade from now, not only could the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors be contending for the Western Conference Championship, but Harden and Curry might very well be battling in a two-man race to retire with the most made three-pointers in league history. How’s that for drama to look forward to?