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James Harden Described His Game As A Mix Of Paul Pierce And Manu Ginobili Before He Was Drafted In 2009

James Harden Described His Game As A Mix Of Paul Pierce And Manu Ginobili Before He Was Drafted In 2009

At the age of 32, James Harden is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning. However, he has quite a bit of basketball left in him. Harden has been an elite scorer in the league since he broke out as the 6th man on the Oklahoma City Thunder. His combination of physicality and pure skill made him a nightmare to guard, especially during the years he was regularly challenging for the MVP. :

If you ask any NBA star if they knew that they would be one of the best, they would say yes. To reach the levels that Harden has reached in his career, a special type of dedication and confidence is required. And when he was coming out of Arizona State, he had that confidence for sure. Asked before the draft, who his NBA comparisons were, he didn't hesitate to name two champions and All-Stars. 

(start at 1:20 minutes):

"Maybe two players, Paul Pierce and Ginobili, put together. You know, can find his way to the basket, can shoot the pull-up, can shoot the deep three ball. "

Pierce and Ginobili had both been on legendary teams at that point, Manu a part of the Spurs' Big 3 alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, and Paul Pierce for the Celtics, alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. For Harden to say he was a mix of the two was a very bold statement for a player coming fresh into the league. 

It's safe to say, though, that the Beard almost undersold himself on that front. He may not have won a championship yet like those guys, but his seasons in his prime are better than any Ginobili or Pierce ever managed. He certainly has the skill they showed too and more, developing a signature shot of his own. And with Harden now focused on winning with the Sixers, may he can be a champion soon too.