Everyone knows that James Harden just put together an incredible campaign in 2016-17. His work on offense was so brilliant, that if you take a deep dive into his season, you’ll come to the realization that no one in the history of the NBA has ever had a season on that end of the floor quite like The Beard.
Harden, without another star by his side, was the nightly focal point of his opponents’ defensive game plan. But he had counters for anything and everything coaches threw at him in putting together one of the great scoring seasons you’ll ever see. You can probably count on one hand the guys that have scored as much and as efficiently as Harden did.
But he was also so much more than that. When defenses collapsed on him, he perfected the art of leveraging that attention to create opportunities and open looks for his teammates.
Whether it was feeding Clint Capela or Nene rolling to the rim or Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Trevor Ariza, or Ryan Anderson spotting up for 3, Harden complemented his dynamic scoring with a historically strong job setting up his teammates. Combine those two elements together, and Harden makes quite the compelling case for the greatest season of offense … ever.
But here we are, once again, with Paul George looking at elimination at the hands of LeBron James. The Pacers had a chance to win Game 1 on the road but came up short. They also blew a 26-point lead in Game 3 at home. Neither of those things were Paul George’s fault. He’s one of the best two-way players in the game who has given everything to Indiana. But have they given it back to him?