Rockets guard James Harden has been one of the NBA's premier players over the last half decade, finishing in the top five of the MVP voting in four of the last five seasons. And to former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon, Harden isn't just one of the best players in the game today. He's one of the best players of all time.
“It’s very difficult to carry a team from that position, and [Harden] has proven that comfortably, reaching new heights," Olajuwon said on SportsTalk 790’s 'The A-Team' on Wednesday. "Look at his statistics. He’s a player to the level of Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain."
Harden certainly has the statistical case as one of the best players in league history. He will win his third straight scoring title in 2019-20, and his 36.1 points per game mark last season is only topped by Chamberlain and Jordan in NBA history. Harden is arguably the greatest scorer of the 21st century (though Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant have an argument). Houston's guard could finish his career as one of the leading scorers of all-time.
The Arizona State product is certainly a Hall-of-Fame player, though his career resume does have one glaring omission without a championship. Olajuwon believes Harden's first ring will come at some point. It's frankly "just a matter of time."
"It’s something unbelievable in this era. There’s no question about James’ ability as a champion. I think it’s just a matter of time," Olajuwon said. "Any player you put with James Harden, it will work. Because James is such a complete player. He’s a winner and he knows how to win.”
Harden and the Rockets currently sit No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24 as they eye the franchise's first Finals berth since 1995. Houston has reached the playoffs in eight straight years with Harden, though they have not made it out of the Western Conference playoffs.