James Harden is one of the biggest offensive forces in the NBA, as the 2018 MVP has perfectioned his game, innovating the ways he scores. However, some players know how to stop or at least diminish Harden’s impact on the game.
ESPN’s analyst Kirk Goldsberry has listed off the best defenders against the Houston Rockets star over the last two seasons and the results are quite interesting.
Following Wednesday night victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, Russell Westbrook had some harsh words towards the Clippers' Pat Beverley, criticizing the guard for his defense.
“Pat Bev trick y'all, man, like he playing defense," Westbrook said. "He don't guard nobody, man. It's just running around, doing nothing. ... All that commotion to get 47."
Those 47 he’s referring to are the points Harden scored against the Clippers. Well, this comment prompted Goldsberry to make some research trying to find the best Harden defenders over the last two seasons (Harden points per 100 matchups).
1. Patrick Beverley (11.1)
2. Zach LaVine (14.0)
3. Wes Matthews (17.1)
4. D. Finney-Smith (21.8)
5. David Nwaba (23.4)
*Out of 54 players with at least 35 matchups v. Harden
Moreover, the Beard was 0-for-6 from the floor when defended by Beverley on Wednesday.
Another stat to have in consideration is that Harden is averaging 18.8 free throw attempts per 100 possessions, which is more than the Indiana Pacers as a team. He's at 18.8, Pacers are 17.6. Besides, he's also right there with the Wizards (19) and Grizzlies (19.2). This guy gets a lot of fouls, so you must know how to defend or ‘trick’ the refs not to call them.
There are surprising names on the list, but nobody can say Pat Beverley doesn’t do a good job on defense, more so when it comes to James Harden. Sure, James went off on Wednesday, but that’s not a common thing to happen when he faces Beverley, one of the best defenders in the league.