Last season, there was a real debate about who should win the MVP award: James Harden or Stephen Curry. This season, Curry is stretching the 3-point record to uncharted territories. Harden? He’s on his way to set a turnovers record.
When the playoffs began last season, the Warriors looked like favorites, but it’s nothing compared to how easy it seems it’ll be for them this time. And one can take that difference and parallel it to how things have changed between Curry and Harden. Harden has regressed, with his selfishness and awful defense becoming a bigger part of his game, while Curry as taken another step towards historical greatness, and not just being a one-time best player in the NBA. MVP is one thing, but being the best player in the league means more and says more.
So where are they at statistically? Curry has 343 three pointers made this season, more than anyone in NBA history, with 11 games to go. He makes five of them per game, so that means he’ll end up with 398, unless he goes into overdrive and starts taking more than 11.1 per game. Why not? When he makes 45% of them, the Warriors don’t mind if he shoots and shoots and shoots. And by the way, second and third place on the all-time list in terms of most three pointers in a season? Curry, too, who also has the number six place on the list. Klay Thompson, his teammate, is 10th (last season) and 11th (this season). He’s at a pace that could put him at 270 three pointers this season, which will move him to fourth on the all-time list, just behind the Curry trifecta.
And now to Harden. He might hit 400 turnovers this season instead of 400 three pointers. He does have 194 tres this season and could surpass his personal best of 208 from last season, but that might mean one of the top 30 seasons of all-time from beyond the arc shooting. Not historically good, just good. Turnovers? Now this is where Harden is special. His 321 turnovers from last season is 32nd on the all-time list. This season he’s already at 332, 17th on the all-time list. With 10 games to go for Houston (right now not making the playoffs) and Harden averaging 4.6 turnovers per game, he’s on pace to break the all-time record of 366 turnovers in one season, which belongs to Artis Gilmore, which hasn’t been beaten since 1978.
On Reddit (which is where we saw the graph), they’re calling it the chase for 400. Curry is chasing the right kind of 400. Harden? The closer he gets, the worse this season has been for him and the Rockets. Momentum changed for him and his team the moment Curry & the Warriors beat them in the Western conference finals last season. It’s been a ride towards different goals with very different projected endings for the two best players in the NBA last season. Curry is on his way to another MVP and NBA championship. Harden is now viewed as possibly the reason the Rockets won’t win a championship with the current roster.