In the 2014-15 season James Harden made 715 Free Throws. This total represents the 12th highest total made by any NBA player in the 74 year history of the league. It’s also the second highest total in more than 25 years. Whenever I see a player have a season that historic (in any category), it’s worth a deeper look.
To put into perspective the class that 715 free throw makes puts James Harden, let’s see what other players are responsible for the top 20 seasons for made free throws: Jerry West, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Adrian Dantley, Oscar Robertson, Kevin Durant, Moses Malone, Rick Barry (all with at least one season better than Harden’s), Barkley, K. Malone, Kobe, and Pettit (with seasons worse than Harden’s). If you haven’t noticed by now, James Harden is now in the company of many of the most prolific scorers in league history.
|FTA||FTM||FT%||Age||Career Points||Scoring Titles||All-Time Rank|
|James Harden||824||715||86.7||25||8887||0 (3 Top 5)|
|Jerry West||977||840||82.1||26||25192||1 (5 Top 5)||23|
|Michael Jordan||972||833||85.7||23||32292||10 (11 Top 5)||4|
|Wilt Chamberlain||1363||835||61.3||25||31419||7 (9 Top 5)||5|
|Adrian Dantley||946||813||85.9||27||23177||2 (5 Top 5)||33|
|Oscar Robertson||938||800||85.3||25||26710||1 (9 Top 5)||13|
|Kevin Durant||840||756||90.0||21||15537||4 (5 Top 5)||125|
|Moses Malone||904||737||81.5||29||29580||0 (5 Top 5)||7|
|Rick Barry||852||753||88.4||22||25279||1 (4 Top 5)||T-21|
|Charles Barkley||951||714||75.1||24||23757||0 (9 Top 10)||29|
|Karl Malone||918||703||76.6||25||32482||0 (13 Top 5)||2|
|Kobe Bryant||819||696||85.0||27||32482||2 (11 Top 5)||3|
|Bob Pettit||885||685||77.4||30||20880||2 (10 Top 5)||40|
On top of it all, Harden made those free throws at a better clip (86.7%) than anyone on the list other than Durant (90%) and Rick Barry (88.4%). There is no exception to this list. Literally every player who has made close to 715 free throws in a season is in the Hall of Fame (or named Kevin Durant) and high on the All-Time scoring list. Every, single, one. Bottom line, Harden, by making 715 free throws last season is in the class of elite scorers and even in a worst case scenario, history would suggest that James Harden is on his way to becoming one of the greatest scorers of all-time. I’d predict that barring injury Harden will land north of 25,000 career points and likely in the top 25 on the all-time scoring list–right there with his old teammate, Kevin Durant. Who knew you could know so much from free throws?