As expected this season, James Harden scored his 20,000th NBA point.
The bearded superstar walked into last night’s game with 19,990 points. He surpassed 20,000 points last night in a blowout win over the over matched Minnesota Timberwolves 139-109 last night. In doing so, he joined 44 other NBA players in the exclusive 20K points club.
Seventh Youngest, But 17th Fastest
As the media began to cover Harden’s impressive milestone, they were quick to publish the fact that he was the seventh youngest in NBA history to reach 20,000 points.
However as we’ve covered in several past posts, “youngest” doesn’t equate to Harden being the fastest to do so. When looking at how many games played, Harden 11 NBA seasons and 802 games to reach those 20,000 points. Though he surpassed Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant in this measure, Harden falls from seventh to 17th behind “faster” players LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone and Dominique Wilkins.
This isn’t to take away Harden’s milestone especially considering he started out his career coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder, we only want conflate with fastest, similarly, if you wanted to learn how to place bets online on basketball, you want to be sure you understand the terminology.
From OKC Bench to All-Time Great Scorer
Harden’s accomplishment has certainly benefited from his ascension as not only the league’s top scorer, but as one of the best scorers in NBA history even as many of his peers dislike his game and tactics. James Harden has lit the league on fire the last few years; leading the league in scoring the last two seasons and averaging nearly 38 points a game this season. That 37.7 mark is the highest average since Michael Jordan‘s 37.1 points in 1986-87.
That and seeing as only 45 players in all of NBA history has ever reached 20,000 points, this is significant no matter how misleading the news surrounding it can be. And Harden took the feat with perspective.
“It’s a great accomplishment obviously,” Harden told ESPN. “I have a bigger picture and bigger goals, but it’s pretty cool.”
Fittingly, the 6-5 left-handed shooting guard reached the milestone with a move he helped popularize; a step-back 3-pointer in the second quarter. The league’s former MVP dedicated the accomplishment to his mother.
“She has everything,” Harden said. “Every goal and achievement that I have, she has it. I gave it to her, and she’ll put it in a safe place.”