Charles Barkley speaks of James Harden in high regard; says he might be the best basketball player in the world as of this moment.
Doubts about James Harden’s ball dominance and iso-heavy style of play were prominent when talking about his fit on the Brooklyn Nets alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. However, it was clear from the first few games which featured Harden in a Nets jersey that we were going to see a new side of his game, when compared to the way he played on the Houston Rockets.
Thought to have peaked when with the Rockets, James Harden reinvented his game upon arrival on the East coast and is arguably a better player than what he was when in Houston. He’s putting up 25 point triple doubles on the regular while dishing out 15+ assists on what seems to be a nightly basis. Unfortunately for Bill Simmons, the ‘Beard’ isn’t racking up ‘cheap assists’ either.
Harden’s ability to facilitate at an MVP caliber level, while also go off for 40+ points on any given night, makes him one of the most potent offensive superstars the NBA has ever seen: and Charles Barkley agrees.
Charles Barkley says James Harden might be better than Kobe and Jordan offensively
Seems as though Chuck has come a long way since his “dribble, dribble, dribble” comments from earlier in the season as he’s taken a complete 180 on the Nets de facto point guard.
“Right now, no disrespect to LeBron or Giannis or anybody but James Harden might be the best basketball player in the world. Period. Kobe and Jordan were better players from a guard standpoint, but as far as offensively, they couldn’t shoot 3s like him. Every time he goes to the basket, he’s going to hit somebody and get two free throws.”
Charles Barkley says James Harden is the best player in the world right now and the greatest offensive player we’ve ever seen from a guard standpoint.
— Elite Media Group (@TheEliteMedia_) March 24, 2021
There is validity to Barkley’s statement. Harden has been carrying the undermanned Brooklyn Nets to a definitive top 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, keeping them neck-and-neck with the Philadelphia 76ers. He’s doing so by putting up 25.3 points, 11.2 assists, and 8 rebounds a game, all while shooting near 40% from beyond the arc.
He’s in the running to snag 2021 MVP honors, and for good reason. He’s been the best player on arguably the best team in the league. If he were to win his second MVP this season, it would be the first time in history a player would win the award after having been traded mid-season.
As for the ‘Kobe-Jordan’ remarks, Harden plays quite different to those two. The former two legends are more about finesse relied on a variety of moves and developed counters to their own moves, while also exploding to the rim for a highlight worthy dunk or acrobatic layup.
The 2018 MVP however, is more focused on breaking down his opponent through a variety of dribble moves before going off using an explosive first step. It’s impossible to judge who the better offensive player is due to the difference in playstyles.