Houston Rockets guard James Harden is bound for the first MVP award of his career this season.
Harden’s year has been remarkable as he’s posted averages of 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from three. He’s done all this while leading the Rockets to the best record in the NBA and top seed in the Western Conference.
When you take a closer look at Harden’s numbers, they can become even more eye-popping. This is definitely the case when you see what happens when teams allow their center to switch onto Harden.
Via Reddit user u/oakled, Harden is posting a 71.07 true shooting percentage when centers switch onto him. Essentially, it’s absolutely game over when this happens.
This is a common occurrence too with many teams around the NBA living with their bigs switching on guards in an attempt to deal with the vast number of pick-and-rolls that make up most offenses. The Rockets know this and they actually rely on isolation scoring as much as any team in the league thanks largely to these switches.
The isolation game may be Harden’s greatest strength with many suggesting this season he is possibly the greatest ever in this dimension. That’s obviously mostly the case when it’s a big on him as he consistently torches them.
This will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on in the playoffs with the Rockets — seeing how often its bigs switching onto Harden and how much he makes them pay. The numbers say it’s a bad idea but sometimes things change in the playoffs.