(via EssentiallySports)

James Harden is one of the most talented offensive players to ever set foot on a basketball hardwood. That goes without saying.

Somehow, The Beard continues to come up with different ways of fooling around his defender and put up huge numbers, leading the NBA in scoring for the third straight year. We all know what he’s going to do, yet no one’s able to stop him.

That’s why after he put his offensive expertise at full display during the first half of Game 1 of the Rockets vs Thunder series, Charles Barkley had no choice but to take his hat off and call him the greatest one-on-one player he’s ever seen, even ahead of legendary scorers like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant:

“James Harden is the best one-on-one player I’ve ever seen in my life. As great as Michael and Kobe were and they’re better players, they weren’t the three-point shooter James was. James is the best one-on-one player,” Barkley said during the Rockets vs. Thunder halftime show.

Barkley stood by his take by claiming that nobody knows whether Jordan and Kobe would have been able to develop a consistent three-point shot in today’s game the way Harden has done it. The rest of the NBA on TNT crew wanted nothing to do with his opinion, though.

Harden isn’t the one who pleases most old-school NBA fans but no one can deny that he’s become an offensive juggernaut no defense has an answer to.

You can’t take away his strong hand and even if you do, he can drive and finish with his right hand or kick it out for the open three. He doesn’t need much time or space out of a high screen to step back and pull up from beyond the arc, and he’s a master at drawing contact. Perhaps it’s a bit of a reach by Chuck but Harden is definitely a top-5 one-on-one player in NBA history.