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#pounditTuesday, May 28, 2024

Former All-Star offers hot take on James Harden

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden’s place in the basketball pantheon is still up for debate. At least one former All-Star has the 2017-18 NBA MVP pretty high up there.

Jeff Teague played 12 seasons in the NBA and retired after the 2020-2021 season. The former guard was a guest recently on the “Club 520” podcast. During the episode, co-host Bishop asked Teague if Harden is considered a top-five shooting guard in NBA history.

Teague didn’t mince words when he answered, offering up a comparison that wasn’t initially asked for.

“Yes,” said Teague. “I got him over Dwyane Wade, but I’m out of pocket.”

Teague argued that Wade has always had top All-Stars and former MVPs by his side when he was able to achieve success. Harden, on the other hand, spent several years as the lone superstar on the Houston Rockets.

“If you think about it, when [Wade] is by himself. D-Wade, he had Shaq [O’Neal], then he had LeBron [James]. He ain’t [sic] never really been by himself. When Miami was by himself, they were trash. … Harden’s better than D-Wade, bro. I’m sorry,” said Teague.

Wade and Harden have relatively similar resumes when it comes to accolades. Both have made double-digit All-Star selections and at least seven All-NBA nods. Harden owns single-season scoring and assist titles, while Wade has been named to a few All-Defensive teams. Harden owns a regular season MVP trophy, while Wade was named Finals MVP back in 2006.

Harden led the Rockets to the playoffs in all eight full seasons he played in Houston. He was unequivocally the best player on every one of those teams. Harden also made two Western Conference Finals appearances.

Wade, however, has an easy trump card over Harden most fans would use: three rings. The Miami Heat legend played a starring role in all three championship runs for the franchise.

Wade hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2019. Despite that, he’s still being used as a subject for debate years later. Paul Pierce just recently opened up on the Wade comparisons to once again determine which player was better.

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