In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Charles Barkley talked about the best offensive players he has ever seen. Barkley mentioned the names of Jordan, Kobe, George Gervin, and Bernard King as some of the best scorers in NBA history. However, he believes James Harden is the greatest offensive player in today’s NBA and possibly in the entire league history.
Barkley said Harden’s ability to shot the three exceptionally well alongside his ability to handle the ball and attack the rim make him almost unstoppable in today’s game where the physicality is no longer on the same level as it used to be. He did emphasize the difference in the eras Jordan and Kobe played in where, for example, hand-checking was allowed, but he admires Harden because of his ability to score 35-40 points on a nightly basis.
“James Harden is the greatest offensive player I’ve ever seen. In today’s game and James ability to shot the three and put the ball down, I think he is the greatest offensive player I’ve ever seen. That is counting Michael and Kobe, but they played in an era where you could beat the hell out of people, but in today’s game, you have to give James his credit. He is the greatest offensive player I have ever seen.”
Harden currently has 18 thousand points in his NBA career, and Barkley believes if he keeps averaging 30 for another five years, that will affect his ranking on the all-time list.
“I wonder where Harden will be on the all-time list if he keeps averaging 30ish for another five to seven years. He will get way up the list. He’s got five more years where he will average around 30, probably around 30-35.”
After averaging 36.1 points last season, Harden seemed to improve even more this year as well. Even though the season is still young, Harden stepped up his game and is now averaging 36.6 points per game, which is mind-boggling as it shows unbelievable progress he is making year after year. There is no question he is one of the most gifted offensive players in NBA history; however, there is a big chip on his shoulders of finally winning a championship this season. That will bring him in the conversation for being one of the best guards in NBA history alongside the guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.