It seems as if I’m in the minority here of people who think that Harden doesn’t deserve his jersey retired. Harden played for the Rockets for 9 seasons while averaging 29.6 points, 6.5 assists, and 6 rebounds a game. He won one MVP and brought the Rockets to two Western Conference finals. Harden never got over the hump that was the Golden State Warriors, and in his defense, he did have to compete against one of the greatest teams in history. That’s not to say that Harden didn’t have his blunders in the playoffs. After the Thunder finals appearance, it was clear that the player who didn’t play to his level was Harden, which continued throughout his career. There was the game 6 meltdown against the Spurs where Harden only scored 10 points, and the Spurs blew out the Rockets. Then there was the comeback against the Clippers in a win or go home game 6 against the Clippers in 2015. The Rockets were down 19 with only a minute left of the 3rd quarter. Harden went to the bench and looked like it was all but over for Houston. Then Josh Smith and Corey Brewer exploded for the Rockets, and without their greatest player, the Rockets came back and won game 6 and eventually won the entire series. There are more bad games for Harden in the postseason, but you get my point.
James Harden holds most of the all-time stats for the Rockets. The other person who dominates all-time stats is Hakeem Olajuwon. Harden is the career leader for Houston in 3 point field goals, 3 point field goal attempts, free throws, assists, triple-doubles, points per game, player efficiency rating, usage percentage, offensive win shares, box plus-minus, and offensive box plus-minus. It’s safe to say that Harden is one of the all-time greats for the Rockets, but he didn’t win a championship. That is the biggest accomplishment for any player, and stats don’t matter if you don’t win.
The Houston Rockets have retired 6 numbers, Yao Ming, Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Rudy Tomjanovich. James Harden will be the 7th, and comparing him to these other players I feel like he doesn’t deserve it especially not this early. Harden has left a sour mouth in everybody’s mouth the way that he left the team. Harden became fat Harden, bailed out on his team, and didn’t try before he got traded. It got so bad that John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins called Harden out in post-game conferences.
Maybe in 10 years after Harden retired and the Houston Rockets wanted to retire Harden’s number, it would seem more normal. A couple of months after Harden called out the organization and mailed at the beginning of the season, they are already announcing Harden’s number retired. Kevin Garnett has been retired for 5 years, and the Timberwolves still haven’t retired KG’s number. Garnett, the Timberwolves greatest player, hasn’t had his number retired, and Harden, who might not be the Rockets greatest player, is already getting his number retired.
What do you think do you think James Harden’s number should be retired?