Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are Oklahoma City’s two best players. They made All-Star teams and All-NBA teams last year. But the Thunder’s James Harden is emerging this season as a possible third All-Star on the roster.
Harden is second in the Western Conference among shooting guards in PER. His 23.84 PER rating this season is second behind only Kobe Bryant (26.44).
Harden is averaging 16.8 points per game, 3.3 assists per game and 4.1 rebounds per game this season. He’s shooting 48 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 87 percent from the line while getting to it 6.5 times per game.
Harden is much better when playing at home however. In the same amount of minutes (29), Harden is averaging 19.8 points per game at home while just 14.0 on the road. He’s shooting 55 percent at home and dropping down to 39.5 percent away from home.
Harden is also attempting one free throw per game more at home and averaging 2.2 more assists per game.
The Sixth Man of the Year award race might as well already be done. Harden has pretty much wrapped it up. Does he to deserve to be an All-Star?
The West is full of great point guards but you would expect only three would make the team. Maybe Westbrook, Chris Paul and Steve Nash will be selected.
Kobe is also a shoe-in which leaves most likely one other guard from the West to make the team. With Manu Ginobili hurt, Harden may be the next choice. Monta Ellis is really the only other competition at shooting guard to make the team but I think as of right now, Harden would get the nod.
The only thing that could stand in his way is if the West selects another point guard or possibly another forward to make the team which is entirely possible. There are a lot of deserving power forwards in the conference this year as well (Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki).
One thing is for sure though, Harden is having a breakout season and could become the X-factor that leads Oklahoma City to an NBA Finals appearance.