James Harden had a statistical 2017 that’s only happened once
With the recent unfortunate news of James Harden injuring his hamstring, which will have him miss the next two weeks, it’s a good time to give the MVP candidate some well-deserved love.
He had a big 2017 — big might not even cut it, as he did something so rare, not even certified stat-stuffers Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook were able to do it — at least not yet for the latter two.
We’re talking about having a certain high amount of points and assists in a calendar year, so high that it was not done in the previous 44 years. “The Beard” registered 2,490 points and 805 assists in 2017, which is extra impressive when you know that it was also on top of pushing the Houston Rockets into becoming one of the true premiere teams in the league.
It makes sense that Harden and the last guy to have such an accolade, Hall of Famer and NBA champion Nate “Tiny” Archibald (2,842 points and 933 assists in 1972), have a lot in common.
Aside from being crafty lefties, both have a deadly offensive arsenal. They can effectively operate inside and out, and, as evidenced by the large number of dimes they put up, were also willing passers that kept their teammates involved.
Archibald never slowed down during his superb 1972-73 season, and he concluded the campaign by pacing everyone in points and assists — he’s still the only player to do so. James Harden was close in matching the feat last season, as he led the league in helpers but went second in points.