According to James Harden himself, he's the most unselfish guy in NBA history. Needless to say, the statement left a lot of fans bewildered, as Harden is mostly known for his offensive feats of scoring almost at will, which in his case includes taking a lot of shots.
Recently, The Beard gave an interview for SiriusXM NBA Radio and opened up about how unselfish he is and the time he spent in Brooklyn while also talking about what he expects from his future in Philadelphia. In the process, he did bring up some points that validate his selfless theory – to an extent, at least.
“I'm one of the most unselfish players”
Before getting into what Harden said, it would be beneficial to look at the numbers first. Specifically, his career averages are 24.9 points and 6.8 points per season.
At first glance, this confirms the theory about his score-first mentality, since assists can definitely be used as a measure of unselfishness, and over his career, the average is not super impressive. On the other hand, over the last 6 seasons, Harden has always averaged more than 10 assists per game and that certainly brings us closer to his statement that focused on his past three, somewhat turbulent, seasons.
"Me being James Harden, I'm one of the most unselfish players probably that this league has ever saw. You go into a situation with Brooklyn where I had KD and Kyrie, they didn't need me to be a 30 points scorer. Basically, I was a facilitator and was finding ways to impact the game, which I am fine with,” Harden said.
“Joel should have won the MVP last year, he was playing extremely well. You can't come in here expecting to average 30 points, so again, finding ways to impact the game…and finally being healthy [is important for me], you know, for the past two and half years, it's been a struggle for me because I wasn't able to be who I know I am," he added.
Whether most fans like it or not, the 76ers' superstar made several valid points here, but the problem might be in the fact that he is now looked at as someone who forced his way out of Houston and also participated in the Brooklyn Big 3 experiment that failed in ways only few could have imagined.
Not a democracy
Going back to what Harden announced when talking about the upcoming season with the 76ers, there are definitely things that should make Philly fans happy and hopeful.
As The Beard said, he is finally fully healthy and apparently in much better shape than he used to appear for training camps. Then there is also his willingness to decline a massive 47 million dollar contract option this offseason. He ended up taking a 14 million dollar pay cut that allowed the Sixers to sign PJ Tucker and Daniel House. Finally, it seems that James is more than ready to accept Joel Embiid as the number one option on the team.
Maybe all of this sounds too good to be true, but it seems that coach Doc Rivers is ready to steer the team in the right direction.
“We’ve got to establish Joe and you. It’s a pecking order. This ain’t a democracy. It ain’t no democracy,” Rivers told James during practice. It sure looks like everybody in the City of Brotherly Love is more than ready to be a number one contender in the stacked Eastern Conference.
The one to lead them there? The self-proclaimed most unselfish guy in NBA history. Safe to say the 76ers are in good hands.