Daryl Morey had high praise for Houston’s star.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had high praise for his MVP point guard James Harden and argued that his seven-time NBA All-Star was a better scorer than Michael Jordan–a take he acknowledged he gets “a lot of s— for.”
“It’s just factual that James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan,” Morey said Thursday on the “Selfmade with Nadeshot” podcast. “Based on literally, like you give James Harden the ball and before you’re giving up the ball how many points do you generate? Which is how you should measure offense. James Harden is by far No. 1 in NBA history.”
However, Houston’s GM conceded that there are holes in his argument.
“The counterargument is reasonable,” Morey said. “They say if you put Michael Jordan on a team now he would do more than James Harden. That’s possible. But if you’re just saying: ‘NBA history, if you give this guy the ball, how much does his team score after you give him the ball before the other team gets the ball?’ It’s James Harden. And I know that makes people mad, but it’s literally a fact.”
Harden, a two-time scoring champion, averaged 36.1 points per game last season en route to a Western Conference Semifinals playoff appearance with the Rockets.
Over the span of a 15-season NBA career, Jordan became a 10-time scoring champion, six-time NBA champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP and five-time MVP with a career average of 30.1 points per game while shooting 49.7% from the field.
In terms of advanced metrics, Harden has the statistical edge in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage (Harden sits at 60.9%, while Jordan shot 56.9% over his career).
Harden will play alongside another All-Star this season in Russell Westbrook, who the Rockets acquired from the Thunder this offseason. Westbrook, an eight-time All-Star, has had three consecutive seasons of averaging triple-doubles and was voted the league’s MVP in 2016-17. He averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists for Oklahoma City in 2018-19.
How his shooting percentages and points per game change this season with another star facilitator on the floor is still to be determined.