This matchup is a contrast in styles. Harden is arguably the greatest scorer of this generation. Green is the quintessential small-ball power forward. One the best defenders in the league year after year. We will discuss which player should move on in this latest installment for Player of the Decade debate.
Pros for James Harden
When talking about the greatest of any decade being number one in points scored will definitely shoot you toward the top. Harden is number one in points scored since 2010. That is amazing considering in this decade you have all-time greats like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry. Harden scoring has increased every year for the last five years.
Harden led the league in scoring last year at over 36 points a game. This year he has increased this to over 38 points a game. Last year Harden had a streak of scoring over 30 points a game for 32 straight games. Harden is 4th all-time in 50 point games almost doubling the next closest active player. Quite frankly he is one of the greatest scorers of all-time.
Not just a scorer
For all the grief that Harden gets about being a ball hog it really doesn’t bear out with the numbers. Harden has led the league in assist and every other year has been top 10. James Harden is an underrated passer and most experts would say a top-five passer in the league. Harden’s lowest assist number since 2014 was seven. That is remarkable for the number of shots he takes a game.
Cons for James Harden
Lack of playoff success
The biggest knock against Harden has been his lack of postseason success. This goes all the way back to his OKC days when he was a no show vs the Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals. Harden has not reached the Finals since and has had forgettable playoff games. In-game 2017 game six of the Western Conference semifinals vs the Spurs Harden scored only 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting with six turnovers and six fouls and the Rockets were eliminated.
In-game five of the playoff series vs the Warriors, Harden set the all-time record for turnovers with 13. Harden has had great games in the playoffs but these games have stuck out as examples of Harden failures so far in the biggest games.
Cheating the game
Harden has led the league in free throw attempts for several years now. The knock against Harden and free throws has been that he hunts for fouls. Coaches and the media claim Harden manipulates the rules by causing contact and flat out flopping. It has gotten to the point where teams will play with there hands behind there back to guard Harden.
Pros for Draymond Green
The trophy shelf in Draymond Greens’ house will never be empty. Green is a three-time champion, three-time all-defensive first team and former defensive player of the year. Green is the ultimate team player willing to do the dirty work or whatever it takes to win games. You can never measure Green impact by numbers alone but these accolades don’t hurt his case.
Leader on the court
Whether it’s yelling at the other team or his own teammates Green is a vocal leader. Most people believe he was the most important player on the Warriors championship teams. If a big play is needed Green is there to make it. If an opposing player needs to be shut down Green is their defensive stopper. Green is the ultimate swiss army knife that every team would love to have.
Cons for Draymond Green
Not a leading man
For all of Green’s accolades, he has never been considered the best player for the Warriors. Only averaging nine points and seven rebounds for his career Green numbers aren’t going to blow you away. Many people believe that he is a good player but fortunate to be on a great team. Those same people believe he couldn’t be the number one player for a championship team.
Green plays with a lot of emotions when he is on the court. It has helped him in his career but also hurt him in critical times. The best example of it hurting his team is when he was suspended for game 5 vs the Cavs in the NBA Finals. At the time the Warriors were up 3-1 but many believed his suspension was one of the main reasons the Cavs were able to come back and win that series.
Green is amongst the leaders every year in technical and flagrant fouls and is always one blow up away from hurting his team at the worst possible time.
This matchup is really not close Draymond Green has been part of great teams but James Harden is approaching all-time great status in many categories. Harden should win this one in a landslide.
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