This year, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been at the top of their games. In an interesting twist of fate, it should be no surprise that Houston Rockets’s star point guard has overtaken Oklahoma City Thunder two-time MVP in terms of on-court production this season.
The “James Harden MVP season” is a comparison of the two players. Russell Westbrook has been in the league for less time than James Harden, but he has had more success and won an MVP award. Read more in detail here: james harden mvp season.
Which future Hall of Famer is now the superior player? Russell Westbrook and James Harden were both nominated to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team and have had exceptional careers in every manner. Westbrook is the only player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double in an NBA season, having done it four times with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards in the previous five seasons. Russ is also widely regarded as the NBA’s most explosive player, having earned the prized MVP Award in 2017.
Meanwhile, James Harden is a three-time scoring champion with one of the NBA’s most unstoppable one-on-one games. At 32 years old, the Beard has won an MVP Award and has made nine All-Star Team appearances. Harden still has a lot of goals to achieve, including winning an NBA championship, which he can do as a member of the powerhouse Brooklyn Nets.
Clearly, both Westbrook and Harden are NBA All-Star guards. But who is thought to be the superior player? Here is the ultimate player comparison that will answer that question with figures and facts, taking into consideration the major features of a superstar’s game and assessing them.
James Harden is the man in charge of the scoring.
Because of his explosiveness and quickness, Westbrook is a tremendous inside scorer. Against most other point guards, the point guard is almost unguardable down low, and he can rise and shoot over defenders with ease near the paint. Westbrook cannot be stopped without fouling him, especially when he charges the rim himself. Westbrook, on the other hand, is a liability on the perimeter (32.4 percent ). This has been an obvious flaw in his game that has kept him from contributing to the Lakers this season.
Harden can also attack the hoop and finish on the inside. In fact, in the current NBA, attaching the rim is one of his most effective ways of scoring the ball. He finishes with an And-One by using his tremendous skills to beat his opponent to the hoop at any given moment. Unfortunately for Harden, he isn’t getting the calls he usually gets, which has had an impact on his scoring production (20.8 PPG), which is his lowest since his third season in the league. James is shooting 33.7 percent from three-point range, which is below his career average of 36.3 percent.
Harden is one of the best offensive perimeter players in the game, capable of creating his own shots and draining difficult contested threes in front of helpless defenders. Despite his problems, Harden is averaging more PPG and doing so at a higher rate.
Russell Westbrook’s athleticism
At the point guard position, Westbrook is a fantastic athlete. There is no disagreement here since no one has ever seen a player go around the floor with the explosiveness that Westbrook does. He is lightning fast and can jump out of the gym when he is ahead of steam, so he can travel from one end of the floor to the other with only a few dribbles. Westbrook is also far stronger than the majority of point guards at his position, giving him an edge every night.
Harden is a strong player who is eager to attack the basket, but he lacks the leaping ability that Westbrook has, and few players in NBA history have. As the most athletic point guard in NBA history, Westbrook wins this one.
Even in the case of defense
Westbrook has the physical attributes to be a fearsome defender, as he has the size and mobility to shut down opposing players. The issue is that when it comes to thefts, Westbrook puts too much emphasis on defense, leaving him vulnerable. Russ has also become less of a reliable defender as he has gotten older, preferring to conserve his energy for the offensive side of the ball or go for rebounds rather than contesting attempts.
James Harden is a brilliant offensive player, but he isn’t a good defender. He’s improved his defense in recent seasons, but he gives up on plays much too often, which isn’t conducive to team success in the playoffs. For his stature, the Beard is considered an above-average post defender, but that isn’t enough to make him a dependable standout in stopping opponents.
On the defensive side of the ball, neither player is a consistent defender and cannot be identified.
Russell Westbrook has hit game-winning baskets in the past, but his ability to attempt and make clutch shots is hampered by his inability to be consistent from the outside. Not to add, Westbrook has made far too many important mistakes and rushed into poor choices rather than calming down and allowing the game come to him.
While many question Harden’s ability to produce under duress, particularly in the playoffs, he has proven himself in the past. While this has primarily occurred during the regular season, it is enough of a sample size to conclude that Harden has the potential to be a major shot creator if he takes the initiative. Kevin Durant is one of the greatest clutch players in NBA history, and the Beard is fortunate to be playing alongside him.
Westbrook and Harden are not regarded clutch players and cannot be separated from one another based on their pasts and overall inefficiency in the playoffs.
Even in times of adversity, leadership is essential.
Harden and Westbrook are both major ball-handlers who thrive when they create opportunities for themselves and their teammates. Russell Westbrook is a tenacious player who goes above and beyond virtually every other player in the game. While his dedication and work ethic are excellent examples of leadership, his perspective isn’t always. Westbrook is known for his recklessness, which irritates both fans and teammates, which is why the point guard is now in trade negotiations. Kevin Durant may have chosen to play alongside Stephen Curry in Golden State over Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City for a reason, and Westbrook’s dubious leadership might be one of those reasons.
James Harden has improved as a leader and seems to be a better at holding other players responsible when they make mistakes. Harden’s influence on the floor is incredible, and he has an instant presence in the locker room as a result. However, James hasn’t been in the greatest of form for the previous two seasons and doesn’t seem to be committed to playing MVP-caliber basketball. As a consequence, it would be incorrect to award Harden the leadership advantage over Russ at this time.
James Harden’s Basketball IQ
Westbrook is a fantastic player and all-around athlete, but his basketball intelligence is called into doubt when he misses shots or makes unforced mistakes. When it comes to rebounding, the point guard is skilled at reading where the ball falls off the rim and is one of the first players to get to them. Russ is also a fantastic playmaker, because to his athletic abilities, which help him attack the hoop.
In this area, though, the Beard has an edge. Harden’s superlative basketball I.Q. is shown by his ability to go to the basket on every possession, either by scoring or assisting. He’s a terrific passer, a fantastic scorer, and a complete offensive system in and of himself. Harden’s ability to approach the hoop and get easy points at the rim is a unique talent, and his outside shot is more consistent than Westbrook’s. James Harden, one of the NBA’s most astute offensive scorers, gets this one as well.
Impact – Harden, James
Both players are the primary ball handlers and scorers, and they are almost equal in terms of finding open individuals for shots due to their exceptional scoring abilities. Both players are important because of their offense, and Westbrook is a tremendous facilitator who can take over a game with his passing and scoring. The point guard is also a great rebounder who doesn’t back down from larger opponents, which contributes to his team’s success.
Harden, on the other hand, plays with greater control, which means he can set up his teammates for better opportunities than Westbrook, who can be a touch rash with his decisions. Harden’s ability to read the court and create plays for himself and his teammates is a unique talent that few have, and he edges over Westbrook in this category.
James Harden against. James Harden in a one-on-one matchup
Due to their explosiveness, talent, and passion to score the ball, both guards are unstoppable in one-on-one scenarios. Westbrook can score at the rim whenever he wants and has a great mid-range shot. Westbrook can usually back down his opponent and elevate to easily shoot over them. Westbrook is a tremendous player, but he isn’t on the same level as The Beard.
Regardless of his defensive shortcomings, James Harden is the finest one-on-one player in the NBA. His propensity to win games on his own with his offensive means that unless he is double or triple-teamed, he will take over any game. In one-on-one scenarios, Harden is a bucket every time, and he’s been doing it at a Hall of Fame level for the last four years.
On defense, neither player is particularly good at stopping opponents that depend on their attack more than anything else. Harden’s one-on-one game is more well-rounded because he is just a better controlled offensive player.
Evening Job –
James Harden and Russell Westbrook’s careers have already become legendary. They were selected by the same club and went on to become MVPs and two of the league’s finest players. Both players are triple-double threats who have made high numbers appear natural. But, thus far, which Hall of Famer has had the best career?
Westbrook is a nine-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA player (2 First Team), and two-time scoring champion. Over the course of his 14 NBA seasons, Westbrook has led the league in assists three times and has been in 11 Playoffs. Russ has career playoff averages of 24.6 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, and 7.9 assists per game while shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three.
James Harden, on the other hand, is a 9-time All-Star, 7-time All-NBA (6 First Team), and 3-time scoring champion. Harden has once led the NBA in assists and has been in a total of 12 NBA Playoffs in his 13-year career. The Beard is averaging 23.3 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, and 6.0 assists per game in the playoffs, shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from three.
Overall, this one is too difficult to assess. Although Harden has more All-NBA First Team Selections, Westbrook has played one more season and so has more awards. Their stat numbers are similarly fantastic and too close to call, despite Westbrook’s superior postseason performance. Most significantly, neither player has won an NBA championship and is often questioned about their effect during the playoffs’ most crucial moments. As a consequence, their futures are too uncertain to predict.
James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook 1-5
Russell Westbrook loses out to James Harden as the best superstar player. Westbrook is a fantastic athlete who can still put up triple-doubles on a regular basis, but he lacks the skill set of James Harden. Because of his basketball IQ, the Beard is a superior ballhandler, shooter, passer, and all-around player. Harden is experiencing his lowest scoring season since 2011-2012, yet he is still able to assist Kevin Durant in leading the Brooklyn Nets to the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
That would not be conceivable if Harden were replaced with Westbrook. Westbrook is a potential Hall of Famer and an all-time great triple-double threat, but unlike The Beard on the court, he does not dictate victory. Aside from his explosiveness and unequaled athleticism, Westbrook is no match for Harden on the offensive end, as seen by the way both of his teams have performed so far.
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