Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni praised his star shooting guard James Harden following a statement game over the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers, calling him the best offensive player he's ever seen.
Chris Broussard called out the 66-year-old coach on his claim, noting his offensive system has made players flourish multiple times and taken their game to a completely new level. Broussard wouldn't buy D'Antoni's claim of Harden being the best offensive player, putting other active players above him.
“I would throw LeBron, I think offensively better than him, I even would say Steph is,” said Broussard in the set of Fox Sports 1's UNDISPUTED. “Here's the thing people are missing… this (D'Antoni) system takes you to another level offensively.
Steve Nash, with all due respect, I don't even think he'd be a Hall of Famer — that he's going to be — if he hadn't gone on the Mike D'Antoni system, let alone two-time MVP.”
"I don't think Steve Nash would be a Hall of Famer if he hadn't gone to Mike D'Antoni's system — let alone a 2x MVP, so you put James Harden in this system, who's better… and that is where this extra uptick has come from." —@Chris_Broussard pic.twitter.com/MdUjEjON23
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) March 22, 2018
Broussard then went on to rattle the names of point guards that have starred under D'Antoni's system, the likes of Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton, and Jeremy Lin with the New York Knicks — all players that never got to replicate the same numbers they boasted that season under other offensive systems.
“If you put James Harden in this system, who's better than any of those guys — that is where this extra uptick comes from,” added Broussard. “I would love to see Chris Paul by himself in this system, I think his numbers would be huge.”
“If you put Steph or LeBron or even (Kevin Durant) in this system, you put the ball in his hands in this system — [Shannon Sharpe intejects] ‘LeBron would have 15 assists in this system.'”
Sharpe later darted a slew of names who have had better numbers and performances than Harden, the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant — players that have been consistent enough to have an entire era of dominance in the NBA, making D'Antoni's claim look unfounded and almost cynical.
Harden was a great player before buying into Mike D'Antoni's system (and credit to him for doing so), but the system is revolved about him having the ball as much as possible and has been tailored to put the working parts around him to space the floor and let him control isolation play at will.
The Beard deserves this MVP award after years of getting oh so close to garnering it, but to make the leap and say he's the best offensive player he's ever seen is to jump into a pool of spikes — with plenty of more consistent and renowned players to come before him and even playing within his own era.