Better Season: James Harden or Paul George?

James Harden and Paul George
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Who is going to have a better season in the 2021-2022 NBA Season, James Harden or Paul George? Well, that depends upon how one perceives the phrase “better season”. George is likely to play a larger role for the Los Angeles Clippers than Harden is for the Brooklyn Nets. Harden is an elite scorer, arguably Top 5 in the modern era. However, the injury that sidelined Kawhi Leonard also begs the question: when will Leonard be cleared to play this season, if at all? Also, with Kyrie Irving’s status up in the air for the Nets’ season, this makes for an interesting comparison between two perennial NBA-All Stars.

Paul George Versus James Harden

The Case for James Harden

Harden, playing for the 2021-2022 NBA Championship favorites in Brooklyn, also plays a different role than initially constructed. Due to the Irving holdout situation regarding his unwillingness to get the vaccine, Harden has more opportunities to impact the game. The Nets’ “Big Three” is, for now, down to a “Big Two”. Look for Harden to score close to 30PPG as he has done multiple times in the past, on his way to being the NBA Scoring Champ. The biggest threat to Harden being this season’s scoring champion is likely his teammate, Kevin Durant. However, this will also lead to more assists per game for Harden as he will be more of a playmaker for the Nets than the isolation scorer that he was during his tenure for the Houston Rockets.

The Case for Paul George

George is the face of the franchise for the Clippers this year. Leonard is out and is going to miss extended time. Some reports hint that Leonard may not return at all this season. Regardless, George is likely to be responsible for the majority of the Clippers’ offense. In his first game played at the Warriors, he showed himself capable of being the face of the franchise while his superstar teammate, Leonard, continues rehabbing his injury by scoring 29 points. He will be asked to initiate the offense at times, guard the other team’s best player on a nightly basis, and score at an MVP-level if the Clippers are to have any realistic chance to make a push for the Western Conference Finals. These factors lead to a real possibility that George will have a better season than Harden.

Prediction: James Harden and Paul George Will Have Nearly Identical Seasons

Ignore the manner in which the phrase “better season” is determined by fans, pundits, and writers. Statistically, Harden and George are likely to have close to identical numbers, assuming they both stay healthy. As mentioned above, Durant will likely take away some of the scoring from Harden. Through one game played by both players this season, their numbers are similar to one another. Harden had 20 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in the Nets’ opening night loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. George had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in the Clippers’ opening night one-possession loss to the Golden State Warriors. Both George and Harden are likely to average around 25PPG, 7RPG, and 8APG.

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