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James Harden Has Had Incredible Teammates In His Career: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Joel Embiid Lead A List Of Hall Of Fame Teammates

James Harden Has Had Incredible Teammates In His Career: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Joel Embiid Lead A List Of Hall Of Fame Teammates

There is no doubt that James Harden is one of the best isolation scorers in NBA history, and his resume consists of multiple seasons averaging over 30 PPG. Between his incredible seasons in 2018 until 2020, James Harden averaged 30.4 PPG, 36.1 PPG, and 34.3 PPG. The Beard won 3 straight scoring titles, and also the MVP award in the 2018 season when he led the Rockets to a league-leading 65-17 record.

Harden has also led the league in assists, averaging 11.2 APG during the 2017 season for the Houston Rockets. An elite ball-handler, scorer, and playmaker; James Harden was also considered for the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. But there have been critics of Harden’s career because he has not been able to win an NBA championship despite playing with some Hall of Fame-caliber teammates. James came closest when he made the Finals in 2012 as the league’s 6th Man of the Year at age 22, but he was unable to get the job done.

The Beard recently joined the Philadelphia 76ers this season after ultimately forcing his way out of Brooklyn, and he has a chance to form one of the best duos in the league alongside Joel Embiid. With a chance to play with a future Hall of Fame center, Joel Embiid is another name on the list of incredible teammates Harden had in his career. Here is all the Hall of Fame teammates that James Harden has played with over his career.

Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder (2010-2012), Brooklyn Nets (2021-2022)

James Harden and Kevin Durant Thunder and Nets

Kevin Durant is by far the greatest talent that James Harden has played with. A 4-time scoring champion and one of the best offensive players of all time, The Beard had the luxury of playing with KD on two separate occasions. The first came with the Oklahoma City Thunder when Harden acted as the best backup in the NBA due to his scoring and playmaking ability. Even if Harden was not the superstar we know today, he was still an exceptional player coming off the bench.

With Durant (and Russell Westbrook) by his side, James Harden helped the Thunder reach the NBA Finals in 2012. Harden was exceptional in that regular season, putting up 16.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 3.7 APG while eventually winning 6th Man of the Year. Unfortunately, Harden was poor in the Finals by posting averages of 12.4 PPG on 37.5% shooting. Harden eventually became a superstar with the Houston Rockets, before joining Durant again with the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden had a few solid seasons in Brooklyn, posting 24.6 PPG and 10.9 APG last year through 36 games after his trade. This year, James has averaged 22.5 PPG and 10.2 APG through 44 games. With limited opportunity to share the court with Durant on the court (due to injury), there was little to no success that Harden had alongside the 4-time scoring champion.

Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder (2010-2012), Houston Rockets (2020)

James Harden and Russell Westbrook Thunder and Rockets

Perhaps the next most talented player that James Harden played with is Russell Westbrook, former MVP and future Hall of Fame point guard. Harden played alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, helping the Thunder grow into title contenders. Even though Westbrook was the more impactful player at the time, it was often Harden who acted as primary ball-handler when he was on the court.

Westbrook averaged more assists per game at the time, but The Beard was a more controlled point guard who seemingly had a knack for making the right plays at the right time. That is why Harden was tasked with being the go-to playmaker when on the court. The next stint Harden had with Westbrook was in the city of Houston, when the Rockets parted ways with Chris Paul for the Oklahoma City man.

Westbrook and Harden both made All-NBA Teams in 2020, but they were unable to proceed past the second round of the playoffs together courtesy of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwight Howard - Houston Rockets - (2014-2016)

Dwight Howard and James Harden

Once James Harden became a superstar with the Rockets, it was obvious he needed help to take the team to the next level. The Beard made the All-Star Team in his first season with the Rockets, posting averages of 25.9 PPG and 5.8 APG in 2013. Harden shocked everybody with his play because he became a superstar as the best player on his team. The following year, the Rockets signed 3-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard.

Howard put up 18.3 PPG and 12.2 RPG in his first season alongside Harden, making his 8th straight All-Star Team. Together, Howard and Harden guided the Rockets to the 4th seed in the West with the big man playing 71 games. But the Rockets were bounced in the first round, courtesy of Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. The following year, Howard only played 41 games with the Rockets, averaging 15.8 PPG and 10.5 RPG while showing signs of age and attrition.

Howard and Harden made it to the Western Conference Finals, falling short to the Golden State Warriors team that eventually won the NBA title. While the team was getting more successful, rumors of friction began growing as Howard was starting to get fewer touches on offense. In 2016, Dwight averaged his lowest PPG average since his rookie season, and that proved to be his last year in Houston as the Rockets were bounced in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.

Chris Paul - Houston Rockets - (2018-2019)

Credit: USA Today

Credit: USA Today

The Rockets shook the NBA world when they made a deal to acquire future Hall of Fame point guard, Chris Paul. The experiment with Dwight Howard did not end as expected, and Houston were looking for the next star to help James Harden on the court. Chris Paul was fresh off 5 All-Star Teams in 6 seasons with the Clippers and immediately made the Rockets a bigger force in the West.

The point guard averaged 18.6 PPG and 7.9 APG in 2018, guiding Houston to the Western Conference Finals with an incredible 65-17 record. Worries of Harden and Paul coexisting were put to rest, as both guards shared the ball exceptionally well in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. They made it to the Western Conference Finals, losing to the Warriors in Game 7 after Chris Paul missed the final two games of the series.

The following year, Paul averaged 15.6 PPG and 8.2 APG, once again guiding the Rockets to a top-4 finish in the West. Except for this time, Houston could not defeat the Golden State Warriors yet again, falling in the second round. Once more, rumors of Harden and his All-Star failing to coexist began coming out which ended the point guard’s spell in Houston.

Kyrie Irving - Brooklyn Nets (2021-2022)

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James Harden once again had an elite point guard by his side, as he played with superstar Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn over 2 seasons. Their run was not memorable, to say the least, mainly because injuries and vaccination mandates prevented both guards from sharing the court enough. We never got to see what they could have done together because their run was so short-lived.

Kyrie has only played 68 games over two seasons with the Nets so far, so the former NBA champion has not been able to find consistency on the court overall. Harden and Irving barely achieved anything together, and once again, an ugly departure by Harden ended what could have been an exciting partnership with another All-Star on the court.

Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers (2022)

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While people can debate on which team won the trade in the James Harden blockbuster deal, there is no doubt that Philadelphia is getting one of the greatest scorers of this generation. Harden is averaging 22.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 10.2 APG in a “down year”, an example of what The Beard can do even when he is not at full strength. Clearly dealing with health issues and perhaps motivation issues, Harden is not the same player he used to be.

But with Embiid by his side, we could see the best of James Harden come back. The center, first of all, will benefit greatly from having an elite playmaker (who can actually shoot) for the first time in his career. Ben Simmons did a great job of getting Embiid the ball on most occasions, but Harden will actually be a threat from the perimeter.

In terms of the best big man that Harden has played for, Embiid is clearly the most talented offensive center. Dwight Howard was a great defender while Clint Capela was exceptional at catching lob passes, but Embiid could be the player who finally helps The Beard reach the Finals for the first time since 2012. 


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