Rockets’ James Harden has largest margin in scoring average over second place since 1963
There is no doubt that Houston Rockets guard James Harden had one of the most magnificent scoring seasons in the history of the NBA. The reigning MVP averaged 36.1 points per game this season, which is the most since Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 back in 1986-87.
Next to Harden on the scoring list is Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George, who averaged 28.0 points per game. That’s an absurd 8.1-point difference. According to HoopsHype, this is the largest margin in scoring average since the 1962-63 season.
The late Wilt Chamberlain averaged 44.8 points per game that season, which was 10.8 points higher than second placer Elgin Baylor. The season prior to that, Chamberlain, who averaged 50.4 points per game that year, outscored number two scorer Walt Bellamy by a whopping 18.8 points.
Needless to say, Harden’s 2018-19 campaign has truly been a historic one. The Rockets started really slow out of the gates with an 11-14 start, which led them to the 14th spot in the West at that point of the season. To add to their losing woes, an injury to Chris Paul forced him out of the lineup for a significant amount of time. The Rockets looked like they were dead in the water.
But Harden didn’t allow that to happen. He carried Houston on his back from that point on, breaking and notching several scoring records along the way. Chris Paul’s eventual return after a 17-game absence didn’t even stop him from his season-long offensive tear.
This included a 32-game stretch where he scored 30 points or more. Likewise, he had nine 50-point performances throughout the season, including two 61-point outings.
It’s crazy to think that, as insane has his year been offensively, he still might possibly not win the MVP.
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has also made his case, leading his team to the NBA’s best record this season. He is putting up insane numbers of his own (27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 5.9 APG, 57.8 percent field goal shooting).
Nonetheless, Giannis certainly isn’t running away with the Maurice Podoloff trophy by a long shot. Harden has made his case, as shown with his ridiculously historic scoring season. And the fact that he did all of this by necessity, given Houston’s injury-riddled season, makes it even more impressive.