It’s definitely the slowest NBA news period since…well the last NBA lockout. There is just very little noteworthy going on. I’ve begun to realize how much of my online time is devoted to the NBA–probably a way too unhealthy amount. But still, even in these quiet NBA news cycles, old basketball junkies like myself still click away on sites like Basketball Reference.com or Hoopdata hoping something catches my interest. Yesterday I was reading about former Sonic Detlef Schrempf’s chances on making the hall of fame (not strong); and that got me thinking about whether or not Gary Payton was yet eligible for the Hall (I think he has to wait one more year), and that led me to look at GP’s awesome career stats and how those were lining up with our new young All-Star Point guard Russell Westbrook. I’m like that. I just get going and rabbit trail hours away looking at how one player’s stats compare to another. I know, I need a new hobby.
Then I was looking at Twitter and saw that James Harden was getting ready to throw down in that game in the Philippines today. It made me think about how far he’s come in the two seasons he’s been in the league. He’s really being considered as one of the young up and comers in the league. All of the playoff exposure has sort of put him on the map as compared to other good young players at the same point in their careers who haven’t as yet sniffed the playoffs (Stephen Curry, Tyreke, DeRozan…etc).
That got me to thinking about how when I watched Harden in college I was trying to think of what kind of player he would be in the pros. I knew we needed a 2 guard, and to my mind I always thought he would be our pick. Somewhere I saw that he was being compared to Manu Ginobili-both being guys who attacked the rim, had good handles, were good distributors, left handed etc. So took a peek at BBref.com and used the player comparison finder to see how Manu and Harden had compared after their first two seasons. You can find the comparison here.
That’s a very strong comparable. Both guys were in the playoffs for their second time in their second season, even though Ginobli was older and had played overseas. Both guys had strong seasons and had starts and games from the bench. Both guys also stepped it up in the playoffs. What really caught my eye was the per game playoff Minutes, Points, Rebounds and Assists. It’s like a couple of clones.
We can only hope that Harden’s career progression will continue to replicate that of Ginobili’s.