James Harden is the fourth leading scorer in the league at 27.2 ppg. That is to be expected from Harden. The surprising thing is he is only taking 16 shots per game. Kobe Bryant who is second in scoring takes about 24 per game, Blake Griffin who is third takes 20 and Klay Thompson who leads the league in scoring takes 18 shots per game.
Harden is not a more efficient scorer; he’s shooting about 38%. Harden has always been great at getting to the free throw line. This year he is getting there a league high 12.8 times a game. He’s shooting 95% from the line as well.
To get a better understanding Harden leads the league with 64 free throws attempted. Kobe and Dwight are tied for second with 44 attempts. Harden has made 61 free throws, that’s more than other players have even attempted.
In five games Harden has not forced the action trying to get his points. He has let Dwight Howard get his touches early before he decides to take over a game. He hasn’t taken more than 18 shots in a game this season. He’s had only one game where he failed to shoot 10 free throws.
He is slowly becoming a better playmaker. He has always been a good passer, maybe an underrated passer because he scores so well. He averaged six assists last season and this season he’s up to 7.4 assists per game.
Last season it took Harden two months to have two games with 10+ assists. He already has two games with at least 10 assists.
Last night against the Heat, Harden picked his spots. He didn’t take his first shot until there was 2:15 left in the first quarter. He picked up the scoring in the second quarter scoring 12 points. In the third he was great at controlling the tempo and making the right play whenever the Heat got close.
The pace Harden is on won’t last the whole season. In his last three games he only has 18 field goals but has scored 86 points. On the season he has 31 made field goals and 61 made free throws. He needs to continue distributing the ball and then score if the Rockets want to be even better than last year.