James Harden’s Reliable Shooting Makes Houston Rockets Dangerous

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not surprising to note that James Harden has the best scoring average on Houston Rockets roster. In fact, he’s No. 5 in the NBA, averaging 26.4 points per game. Harden is also the Rockets’ most reliable free-throw shooter.

It’s among the reasons why he’s given credit for a high scoring average. But league statistics show that Harden’s 85.6 percent in free-throw shooting is only 19th in the league.

He’ll never catch Stephen Curry, who is at 90.8 percent or the two other players hitting more than 90 percent of their free throws, Kevin Durant and Darren Collison.

But this season, he’s slightly above his career free-throw shooting percentage of .843. His 45.1 percent shooting percentage is higher than his career mark of 44.7 percent. For a shooting guard, he’s not having that bad of a percentage.

Harden had 37 points in 43 minutes of play Friday in a 108-100 victory over  the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was 8-of-16 from the floor and 5-of-10 in triples, but his free-throw shooting was phenomenal: 16-of-18.

As gifted of an offensive player as Harden obviously is, his defensive skills have usually been underrated. In his last two games, he’s combined for 12 assists but has had no steals. Harden did bring down seven defensive rebounds against Minnesota. He may not be the most complete player in the league, but Harden still does amazing things on both ends of the court. He rarely has an off night on either end.

It might be enough to make the Rockets a tough first-round opponent for anyone in the playoffs. The rest will be up to his teammates.

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