Reigning MVP James Harden ranked 4th in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100
Over the last few days, the experts and analysts at Sport Illustrated have been releasing their list of the top-100 players for the upcoming NBA season. Coming in at the No. 4 spot is Houston Rockets All-Star and reigning league MVP, James Harden.
Harden, now 29 years of age, enjoyed a fantastic 2017-18 season — one in which his Rockets made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
“The Beard,” as Harden has come to be known, made 72 appearances with the Rockets during their 2017-18 regular season campaign, racking up averages of 30.4 points on 44.9 percent shooting from the field (36.7 percent from beyond the arc), 8.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 35.4 minutes per outing.
Harden ranked first in scoring, first in PER, first in Win Shares, first in free throws made, first in three-pointers made, second in Real Plus-Minus, and second in WARP. He led the league with 11 40-point games, four 50-point games and a 60-point game.
Harden and the Rockets played their way to a league-high 65 wins last season, which was good for a new franchise record. And though they narrowly missed the Finals, the Rockets ranked first in point differential and second in offensive efficiency.
A No. 4 ranking is certainly an honorable recognition. Players listed ahead of James Harden include Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry (No. 3) and Kevin Durant (No. 2), as well as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who came away with the No. 1 overall ranking from Sports Illustrated.