1. James Harden, Houston
It’s a running joke around the NBA that Harden is the worst defender in the league, but it’s also statistically proven that he’s one of the best all-around players. He scores in volume, tremendous volume, and his 29PPG average draws attention away from his 7.5 assists average, which is remarkable because only seven other guys in league history have put up 29 points and seven assits per game for a whole season, according to Basketball-Reference.
His mediocre attempts on defense are a product of Houston’s system, who play uptempo and try to run teams out of their gym; that will only heighten with Mike D’Antoni, who is the king of fast pace and no defense. Harden is such a phenomenal talent, though, that if he did decide to play hellacious defense consistently, not many people could beat him. He has a big frame with outstanding lateral quickness and explosiveness.
He gives defenses a flurry of jump shots, euro-steps, and crafty layups while getting to the line a painstaking about of times and keeping the flaws in his game almost invisible. Claims will be made about his efficiency and while it’s not great, making roughly 44 percent of your attempts and shooting more than 1,600 times is pretty decent. It’s even more so when you take into account that almost 41 percent of those attempts were threes.