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Chris Paul, James Harden are top two on ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus rankings

Chris Paul, James Harden

Chris Paul and James Harden are the main reasons why the Houston Rockets are near the top in the NBA standings. It’s no wonder then that among all the players throughout the league, Paul and Harden are number one and two on ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus rankings for the 2017-18 season.

ESPN developed the statistic in 2014 to better measure the value each player brings to a team. Real Plus-Minus (RPM) determines how much better or worse a team’s performance is on both offense and defense when a particular player is on the floor, and how much the team improved based on the individual’s performance.

Here’s how Real Plus-Minus works according to ESPN’s Steve Ilarde:

“The RPM model sifts through more than 230,000 possessions each NBA season to tease apart the “real” plus-minus effects attributable to each player, employing techniques similar to those used by scientific researchers when they need to model the effects of numerous variables at the same time.

RPM estimates how many points each player adds or subtracts, on average, to his team’s net scoring margin for each 100 possessions played. The RPM model also yields separate ratings for the player’s impact on both ends of the court: offensive RPM (ORPM) and defensive RPM (DRPM).”

As expected, the best players in the NBA are in the top 10 of these rankings that statistically show how valuable a player is to his team’s success. Even though Harden gets more of the spotlight, Paul is actually more valuable to the team than he is. Makes you wonder if Paul should get more recognition for the Rockets’ rise and, conceivably be considered for the Most Valuable Player Award as well.

However, the Rockets point guard has missed a number of games due to injury. If Paul had played in more games, the Rockets should have overtaken the Golden State Warriors by now.

They are just a game behind the Warriors in the standings and could possibly seize the lead in the next few games.