By: Lucas Kochevar
When James Harden was traded to the Rockets for some players, toothpicks, and a half empty can of Coke, Houston had no clue that they acquired the greatest isolation player of the last decade, perhaps of all time. James Harden has been out of this world when it comes to playing one on one. He has cemented himself as an MVP candidate and his Rockets hold the best record in the NBA. Lets breakdown some stats and watch videos.
What is an isolation?
It is whenever a player calls for the rest of his team to move out of the way and 'let him work' This occurs in many situations with guards when they have a mismatch. For example, if Chris Paul, Harden's teammate, sees that big man Dirk Nowitzki is guarding him then he is going to call for an iso and will attempt to either use his speed to drive by him or he will use crossovers to try and create space to shoot. In this scenario, Paul would win 90% of the time.
So how absurd has Harden been this year?
Harden has averaged a career high in points, steals, and plus/minus. Harden has lead the trio of CP3 and Clint Capela to a 33-1 record when they all play together and they are currently on a SEVENTEEN game winning streak.
He is also averaging a career high in his offensive rating and net rating, but lets get into the craziest stat. The Beard has scored 90% of his two pointers unassisted and 70% of his three pointers have been unassisted. Just to put that into perspective reigning MVP Russell Westbrook has had 82% of his two pointers unassisted and the greatest shooter of all time Stephen Curry has made 38% of his three pointers unassisted. These numbers show that Harden, keep in mind he leads the league in scoring, is absurdly destroying his opponents one on one.
There is no doubt in my mind that James Harden wins the MVP this year and he should be known as the best iso scorer in NBA history.