More NBA Execs Would Prefer To Keep Harden Over Westbrook
I got negged like crazy for arguing this point last week... but it would appear I'm not alone in this thinking.
The Thunder could soon be in a position where they are unable to retain their entire core due to financial constraints.
James Harden will become eligible for a contract extension this offseason and would become a restricted free agent in 2013 if no deal is reached.
Russell Westbrook signed a five-year extension with Oklahoma City last January.
Harden or Westbrook are more likely to be moved than Kevin Durant.
ESPN's Chris Broussard asked 22 NBA executives which player they would trade if they had to for financial reasons. Fourteen of the executives replied that they would trade Westbrook, while eight said Harden.
Westbrook is a freak athlete. At 23, he'll only get better. Nobody is more explosive off the dribble in the NBA than Russell Westbrook. Harden is a very good player. Nobody in the league can keep Westbrook out of the lane. I wasn't sold on him till I watchd him in this years playoffs. To keep Harden oer Westbrook would be borderline insane in my opinion.
I'd rather have Harden as a player if I was a coach.. He's just a better team player in my view.. Plays within his role and if he's asked to he can put the team on his back as well.. The only reason he's not a star right now is because he's been willing to defer to Westbrook and Durant; deferring and scoring 17 points per game isn't a small task.. If he was on a team like Charlotte he would easily be scoring more than 20 ppg..
Not to mention from an organization standpoint the beard alone sells tickets..
Lets look at this from a different perspective.
Between Westbrook and Harden which player is more likely to rely on athleticism to be effective? Which player's game will translate very well when they're over 30? Which player makes teammates better? Which player could play in any system? Which player is more likely to suffer a devasting injury due to wreckless play? Which player has better shot selection? Which player shoots better?
Seriously, this is no contest.
I beg to differ, Harden will be a great player in this league, but you can't deny the potential Westbrook displays, he just keeps getting better and better, but the way Harden keeps dominating and droping points, and getting to the basket, you never know, but the Thunder will probably look to amnesty Perk before they let one of the big three or Ibaka go.
I'm not surprised that more execs would pick Harden--he's a perfect fit anywhere. But in the right situation I think Westbrook is substantially more valuable.
While Harden would be a bonus to literally any team, I think Westbrook is a bigger impact player in the right situation. For example, if Harden went to the Utah Jazz they would improve by a few wins. However, they'd still have terrible defense at the point (perhaps their overall biggest weakness). On the other hand, Westbrook on the Jazz could transform them in a totally different way.
Agree with Ghandi. Amnestying Perkins looks like the grand option in order to keep your Big 3 and Ibaka. They could eventually look for a replacement at the C position (A low-post scoring option, Pick-n-Roll defender).
I think it is very close, but, for the same reasons HotSnot and river09 mentioned, I would rather Harden. Westbrook is the superior player right now, but Harden might last longer as a star. Harden also plays sg, and there just aren't many sgs who are close in ability or better than Harden, while the pg position is very strong. Right now, Wade, Kobe, Eric Gordon, and Manu are above Harden, but that is it. Westbrook is also a top 5 pg, but the difference between him and the #15 pg is slimmer than the distance between Harden and the #15 sg.
Harden also is very versatile offensively and could fit well next to just about any other pg, while Westbrook is more reliant on his specialty, which isn't a bad thing, but could make the Thunder's potential job replacing Harden more difficult.
Honestly though, this is a dilemma most teams really wish they had. The Thunder still could keep both, and if they needed to, each has an extremely high trade value. The Thunder could get rid of Perkins and possibly keep their core of Westbrook, Harden, Durant, and Ibaka, although they would have little cap flexibility. Still, if I were the Thunder, I would just commit to keeping that core intact and cheaply filling out the rest of the roster. The choice between Harden and Westbrook may be one the Thunder never need to make, if they are lucky.
I'm taking Westbrook he's improved so much with his game already in his career.
The jump shot wasn't there and he's cut down on his turnovers esp. in the playoffs.
Defensively he's a top 3 or 5 PG and he's not even 24.
Harden outside of 2 games in the playoffs hasn't really taken over any.
I know he's a 6th man but he gets starter mins. almost, he's had some bad shooting games but he does get to the ft line a lot to negate some of that.
I think you forgot about Joe Johnson and Monta Ellis.
A lot of SG's are young and its too early to predict how they'll do
Iman Shumpert, Paul George, Marshan Brooks, Aaron Afflalo.
Also a few years ago Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Kevin Martin were all very good.
Westbrooks turnovers are down in the playoffs because Harden is running the point and setting up the offense. Westbrook has been very effective as a SG.
Lol Westbrook just cant win.
I'd take Westbrook and wouldn't think twice about it.
I really think its basically a toss-up, but I'd give the slight edge to Westbrook. Like bloodshy said though, their value completely depends on what theam they are on and what role they are asked to play.
The scary part about it is that I think both players will be the best in the NBA at their position in the next 3-5 years, not to mention Durant is undoubtedly going to be a top 2 SF for a long time.
That team is STACKED, you just don't want them in a similar situation to Miami where those three guys are all making max salaries and theres no money left to sign any decent role players.
I guess people are really hating on Westbrook. This dude can stop and pop at close to his full speed. The stuff he can do now and he is still young is insane. I like Harden but people need to respect Westbrook's game. Westbrook is a better shooting guard than Harden Harden is maybe a inch or so taller. Westbrook plays the point position and he has grown pretty good at it.
Monta Ellis is not better than Harden. Harden is actually good defensively and is the much more efficient offensive player. If Harden took as many shots, he would easily score more points than Ellis. In 30 mpg, Harden averaged 17 ppg on 49% shooting this season, while Ellis averaged 21 ppg on 43% shooting in over 36 mpg. Harden did this despite playing alongside two dominant scorers. Ellis may average more assists per game, but I feel the difference between them as passers in negligible. The Thunder just, at least before these playoffs, didn't get many assists.
As for Joe Johnson, it is closer, but Harden still is the superior player and the distance will only grow. Johnson scored 19 ppg last year on 45% shooting in 36 mpg. Harden is on the way up and could put up much bigger numbers on an inferior team. If Harden was on the Hawks, I think he easily would have topped 20 ppg and still shot a better percentage than Johnson. I feel like Harden is more capable of putting a team on his back and being a more dominant player.
Guys, Harden is great, but I think there's a difference between liking a guys style of play and deciding whether a guy is just flat out better. Westbrook is better than Harden, he can score better, and he's just so explosive. This isn't a diss to Harden, but I hate how the media always coops up some crazy headline or makes the public believe somthing that is propaganda driven. Harden is going to be a top 15 player in the league, but he's not better than Westbrook.
First point to consider is that Harden is playing a lot of minutes against second units. I get that he can easily play in any starting line up, and still put up good numbers, but I think it's important to take into consideration. We've seen Harden close games against the other team's best line-ups but he hasn't had to prove he can play against 1st units every game for an entire season. He obviously has the ability.
Westbrook has looked really good this postseason, especially since the Dallas series wound down. I think he's looked much improved over early in the regular season. In his last 9 games, he's averaged just over a turnover per game, 5.6 assists/gm (5:1 ratio), and 5.6 rebounds. Somebody made the point that Russell hasn't been playing as much point, but I don't think that it's drastically taken down the ball being in his hands, and regardless his assists have stayed right around the season average.
He's really starting to figure out where to pick his spots rather than getting a couple aggresssive charges every game. At the same time he's still scoring and getting to the rim - he just isn't trying to take what's not there. I think he'll improve on the 3 point shot again this off-season and then he'll be a legit off-ball guard and point guard.
Last point - don't wanna jinx him, but Westbrook has never missed a game- not in high school, not in college, not in the pros. That's amazing for someone who plays like he does. I think Westbrook is better, but they definitely bring different skills to the table - perfect teammates. I think OKC'll keep both.
This is like asking the spurs if they had to dump either Tony Parker or Manu which one would they get rid of. I would keep the PGs even though Harden and Ginobli are 2 of the top SGs in the league. I just feel like Parker and Westbrook are the better more consistent players.
He is good there, he will play some SG next year if maynor comes back (maynor is at least a true point guard). It is good to have one guy like westbrook on your team as long as you have durant to keep him calm. HIs competiveness, will to win and his talent are great. The is only a problem if you have 2 guys like him.
"but I think there's a difference between liking a guys style of play and deciding whether a guy is just flat out better"
I disagree with you on this. I think it's more pertinent here in saying there's a difference between a guys athletic ability/potential and how well a player actually plays in a game environment. I believe you're ignoring the fact that as a basketball player on a team with 9 other players on the floor Harden is better suited, he is more skilled and just flat out knows how to play the game. Westbrook meanwhile I won't deny, is a real talent, but I am not convinced that he as good of a grasp. Worth saying that one on one, I take Westbrook.
I said this in another thread, but theoretically, Lawson/McGee for Westbrook/Aldrich. Who says no?
Possible second option could be Rondo,Ray Allen(to start for 24-26MPG ahead of HArden), and the 21st for Westbrook.
Either way, I think if they look to trade Russ, thn they should go after a legit starting PG who can play pass first ball and run the break and either a sg in Allen's mold who is a superstar at one talent or an athletic 5 who can play better with this teams style of fast pace run and gun w/ defnse. It would also allow Perkins to come off the bench or start to provide toughness/physicality/great picks/ and the ability to defend the stronger bigger post players or Gasol's of the world.
They can actually keep Ibaka and Harden if the owner is willing to get into luxury tax level.
They have the rights to both for any offer and they already locked up Westbrook, Perkins, and Durant.
It really depends on if the owner is willing to pay to keep the core. Obviously, if they have an owner like Mark Cuban, there wouldn't be a need for discussion.
I don't see any reason why the Thunder needs to think about this unless the owner doesn't wanna get over luxury.
Even so, they can try to trade away other guys to make space.
Those are SGs that are very good, Harden is a better play maker than Ellis.
If you need scoring though I'd go with Ellis.
I'll take Joe Johnson over Harden, Joe Johnson also dominated when he played with Amare.
45% shooting almost 40% on 3's and under 2 turnovers a game.
Problem is with that big contract ppl just think he should be a superstar player which he isn't.