What makes James Harden the best one-on-one player in the game?

February 8, 2018

By Justin Batiste

There is a special skill set that separates Harden from the rest of the best-one-one players in the game

Whenever you think of a one-on-one player what comes to mind? It’s a player who can make a play by breaking down his defender. These players are normally good for when the shot clock is winding down when a play breaks down or in late game situations. Basically, whenever a play is needed you can put the ball in these players hands and trust that they will make the right play.

There’s an abundance of great one-on-one players in the league. The best ones that come to mind are Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, LeBron James and James Harden. There’s more in the league but these are the creme of the crop. Although these are all great one-on-one players, the top two everyone thinks about is Irving and Harden.

Both are magnificent with the ball.

Whenever a play is needed there is no doubt these are the two guys I’m picking to have the ball in their hands.


Strictly because of how great they are at breaking down defenses. The question is who is the best in the league.

Some would say Irving because of the type of plays he’s made in Cleveland, and now in Boston. Some would say Harden because, well, that’s what Harden does–breaks down defenders. Both players are great one-on-one player but Harden is the best in the NBA hands down.

Both players have a great handle on the ball, both can get to the basket at will and both can shoot the ball from mid-range or three.

Not to mention they both make difficult shots.

But the reason James Harden is the best in the league is because he passes the ball the best, and because he’s the best at drawing fouls.

Harden has mastered the art of getting the ref to blow the whistle, and that’s what makes him so deadly. The numbers show it. Harden leads the league in free throw attempts at nine per game.

Harden is a crafty player.

Not only does a player have to worry about getting scored on when guarding Harden, but they also have to worry about not getting in foul trouble. If there’s any player that can get a player in foul trouble, it’s Harden. If a player is on the bench, how can he be effective?

The best one-on-one players in the league can do everything Harden can do except draw the foul and pass the ball, and that’s what makes Harden the best one-on-one player in the game. It’s almost impossible to stop Harden. Now that Chris Paul is on the Rockets this takes some pressure off Harden, but last year the Rockets went as Harden went. He made all the plays for the Rockets. Mike D’Antoni gave Harden the ball and allowed him to create. In result the Rockets finished third in the west. This year has been no different. Except now the Rockets have another guard who can create just like Harden, when Harden is out the game.

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