In a recent interview for ESPN, James Harden, among a couple of other things, said he feels like he is the best player in the NBA right now. Harden is undeniably having another excellent season for the Rockets; however, he still didn’t have significant success in the postseason. Scottie Pippen, who knows a thing or two about winning big games, made a guest appearance on ESPN’s show The Jump, where he shared his thoughts on Harden’s comments about being the best player in the NBA.
Pippen agrees with the fact that Harden is the best scorer in the NBA since he is now leading the league in scoring for a third straight year. However, he doesn’t believe he is the best player in the NBA because, according to Pippen, he can’t take his team to the next level. Pippen mentioned some other names in the NBA right now that have these qualities even though they are not scoring the ball as well as Harden is in recent years.
“I believe he’s the best scorer in the league. Best player, no. When you talk about the best players in the game, you’re talking about guys that can make their team rise to the occasion. You talk about LeBron James, Giannis, Kawhi, and what he’s been able to do with the Clippers. Those are the great players in our game because they are always going to be in the postseason. “
One of the things that Pippen also mentioned is that the Rockets haven’t played the entire season consistently and that Harden’s leadership has been questionable. The narrative is that having the best scorer in the NBA doesn’t guarantee success. That was witnessed many times before in the history of the NBA. Pippen thinks that type of system can work in the regular season but come playoff time, things drastically change.
“The Houston Rockets have been up and down all season. James Harden’s leadership has been questioned over the last two, three years, and they underachieved to me. Even though he is the best scorer in the game, that doesn’t equal championships. You can be the best scorer for 82 games, but you’re gonna be home come postseason.”
Even though Scottie is right to a certain degree, especially when it comes to the fact scoring the ball doesn’t necessarily transcend into team success. It will be interesting to see how well the Rockets’ new small-ball system will work when they reach the playoffs. So far, they’ve been playing exceptionally well, and after a long time, the Rockets are watchable, and both Harden and Westbrook have been the critical parts of their success.