Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 at 12:20 pm  |  75 responses

NBA GMs Pick James Harden Over Kobe Bryant as the Best Shooting Guard

It’s not just the SLAM Top 50 that has Kobe Bryant coming in second to James Harden in the shooting guard category heading into the 2013-14 season. That’s one of the interesting outcomes from the always fascinating annual survey of the League’s general managers: “Can the Miami Heat do it again? A majority of the league’s general managers think so. According to NBA.com’s 12th annual GM Survey, the Heat are the clear favorite to win their third straight title. But five other teams also received votes to win the 2014 Finals, the most title contenders in the survey in five years. The GMs have made it clear that LeBron James is the best player in the world. And after a three-year absence, 37-year-old Tim Duncan is back as the top power forward in the league. But for the first time in the history of the survey, someone other than Kobe Bryant has been named as the league’s best shooting guard. All 30 GMs responded to 56 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to each question of the survey, rather than all 30 GMs.”

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  • Dfrance

    “Time to prove my place in hist… Wait, Dwyane already said that? Ok, nevermind.”- Kobe on James Harden being picked as top SG.

  • ballislife

    I just do not get all the James Harden hype honestly, he had a very inefficient season last year and now he is better than Kobe and Wade? Based of one season? If he comes out this year and dominates, then okay but dam people are on that hype machine at the moment.

  • hashzz

    I’m the biggest laker homer, but it makes since. James is only 24 years old, and isn’t recovering from injury. I think the most interesting tidbit is since they began the surveys, 12 years straight kobe got the nod. That man has made all nba 1st team for 9 years straight & tied for most all time. Who complains about that……

  • hashzz

    And just to note kobe hadba better season last year, but that achilles. I just hope he takes the proper time for the healing process

  • KingBenjamin

    My point exactly he had one superstar caliber season, he has to do this on a consistent basis if he wants to be considered better than Kobe, Harden has become too overrated.

  • @iamMrjump

    I wonder if Dwade is reading this ! @disqus_qMVqyf83v2:disqus it must be measured on upside. James Harden is an amazing talent but #BlackMamba has been in a league of his own

  • Cortez Mack

    You are not the only one my friend.

    The only thing Harden is better than Bryant at is being born 10 years later, that is it.

    He is certainly better than Wade at jump-shooting but if I was picking a team to win one game, today, I would pick Wade, no doubt in my mind.

    And in a head to head matchup, if I had to put my money on who I thought would be more successful defensively versus the other, give me Bryant and Wade again, no doubt.

  • bike

    Whatever. It can only be the injury that swings it.
    Meanwhile, a churning fire is growing inside the Black Mamba. ESPN team and player rankings and now this are fueling the flames.
    They don’t know who they are fooling with here. This is Kobe Motherf*k’n Bryant.

  • ballislife

    Yeah I think a lot of this over hype has to do with the ultimate hype side show in Dwight Howard. Without Howard then this ranking never happens. He is top ten but top five that is laughable, Harden was a bench player and started only one season and starter minutes for once in his career, and in which statically speaking was not “Elite”.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I understand you guys don’t like the hype, but the thing is simply this: Harden will be better than both of them this year….. Kobe coming off the Achilles and Wade is sort of breaking down….Harden is almost a shoe in to be the best SG….his only real comp is Paul George, imo….

    The guy is in his mid-20s and will be top 5 in the league in scoring..he’s only getting better… i believe the hype, i buy it…..

  • EJ

    Kobe is 35 years old and injured, so there’s a lot of uncertainty on how much he can contribute next season.
    Going with Harden or Wade over Kobe is a very level-headed decision, even if you think Kobe is more talented as a basketball player.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    He was a bench player in OKC, and at that time, that could have been a very good starter for EVERY team in the league other than LA and MIA….this ranking has nothing to do with Dwight and everything to do with how he played last year.

  • LLC#12

    Oddest thing about that question, is that one GM thought Durant was a SG…2 others thought Curry and George were SG’s, but those aren’t as ridiculous. They “best international player not in the NBA question” also had quite a few headscratching answers.

  • ballislife

    Only time will tell

  • JoeMaMa

    ” And after a three-year absence, 37-year-old Tim Duncan is back as the top power forward in the league.”
    And that’s the biggest piece of news. 37 years old and back on top of the mountain. Tim MF Duncan.

  • bobby

    gimme d-wade, paul george, and even iggy over harden RIGHT NOW. love harden but he is terrible at defense. the 3 i mentioned play both sides of the floor very well.

  • Evan Boland

    Iggy lol

  • spit hot fiyah

    their top 4 picks for mvp are the top 4 players on SLAM’s top 50

  • ballislife

    I agree with you. Also to a lesser extent Michael Thompson. Harden has to show he can not only take the Rockets deep into the playoffs and have numbers year after another to be thought as top 5 in the league.

  • ballislife

    One on one Harden would get blasted by wade. Wade is stronger and more skilled. All I see Harden do is how a lot of threes and drive in recklessly hoping for a foul. Shoots 43 percent and plays no defense but yeah he is top 5 and is the best SG in the league? hype kills. if he comes out and plays better than Wade and Kobe this year then it is justified but to have so high on the list is questionable.

  • bobby

    what? tell me how harden is better then iggy. i dont expect to see a response, iggys underrated as hell.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    wooooowww.. iggy?

    I’ve seen some CRAZZZY Slander this preseason for 2 guys that will likely be 1st Team ALL-NBA this year: James Harden and Derrick Rose

  • bobby

    think about it. iggy can do just about everything in bball pretty damn well. and he is an elite defender. if were talking just offense, Harden is prob 2nd in the league behind KD. you have to account his awful defense which to me brings him down. whether u wanna acknowledge it or not he is one of the worst defenders in the league.

  • Caboose

    Are you a Warriors fan?

  • Caboose

    Convince me that Kobe had a better year last year. I want to hear it.

  • Caboose

    “Had a very inefficient season.”

    Is that why he shot a better eFG% and TS% than Kobe? And why his FTR was miles ahead of Kobe?

    Is that how he averaged 26 a game on just 17 shots while Kobe averaged 27 a game on 20 shots?

    Huh, guess Kobe had an inefficient season too then…

  • Caboose

    “Shoots 43 percent and plays no defense but yeah, he is top 5 and is best SG in the league?” Well, that logic applied to Kobe 2 years ago…

  • underdog

    All right, all right, just keep motivating Kobe.

  • Zabbah

    thank you. we need a guy like you around that can smell bullshit.

  • playa

    Maybe you should watch whole regular season, mostly second part of it rather than asking stupid questions,and no Harden wasn’t better than Kobe because of his TS%,which I know will be your main point.

  • Caboose

    Nah, my main point is every stat besides PPG.

  • bball knowledge

    It seems somebody didn’t watch basketball last season…

  • bball knowledge

    the footage doesn’t bullshit:


  • bobby

    nope, knicks fan lol

  • bball knowledge

    if you would pick an out of prime and injury prone Wade to win one game in 2013-2014 over a healthy and consistent Harden I don’t know what else to say. Thank god your not a GM.

  • Truth check

    Kobe shot a better percentage from the field overall, and especially on 2 pointers (51% on 2 pointers to 47%). They both were horrible from the 3 though Harden has Kobe beat there. Harden shot about a percentage better than KB on free throws. Kobe rebounded and assisted more, while Harden stole more (.4 difference) and blocked more (.2% difference). Harden also turned the ball over more.

    I would say Kobe had the better season simply based on the fact that he rivaled and in many cases statistically defeated “the best SG’s” numbers at the age of 34 with an inept supporting cast.

    The only reason Harden is getting this nod is because Kobe is injured. Period. Kobe actually improved last season comapred to the year before and had it not been for the achilles would have finished out what was hands down one of the best seasons in the latter part of his career.

  • Lloyd

    Did you read the article or just the headline? It’s a survey of who’s the best heading into this season, not overall throughout their whole careers. It’s literally completely based off one season. If Harden had a better season last year than Kobe and Wade, then he stands as the best going into this season, especially since the former is coming off a severe injury and the latter is a ghost of his former self.

  • Lloyd

    He’s not considered better than Kobe. He’s considered better than Kobe going into THIS season at this point. It’s literally completely just based off both their performances last season as well as the fact that Kobe won’t even be start the season playing due to a severe injury that will probably effect him when he is able to come back. If you take Kobe over Harden this year based completely off fan-boydem, you lose.

  • bball knowledge

    Doesn’t matter anyways because his team struggled all of last year and they barely made the playoffs and even though Hardens Rockets were an 8th seed, that was primarily because of the lack of depth as opposed to the Lakers who were picked to win the finals.

  • bball knowledge
  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so you don’t know what eFG% and TS% are? James Harden, with how well he shot from 3 (which, 37% is actually good, not terrible at all), and how much he got to the FT line, was actually extremely efficient. Kobe’s shooting % on 2′s is nice and everything, but the better 3pt shooter who lives at the FT line is always going to be a more efficient scorer….

    and anyway,
    Kobe had an inept supporting cast? what the f*ck did James Harden have?

    and Kobe improved offensively, defensively he took a stride backward, to about James Harden level……the same James Harden who now has a fully healthy and happy Dwight Howard behind him. The days of Harden hurting a team more on defense than Kobe, are over. all of this is without bringing up the achilles injury, which i’m aware that you acknowledged. But “truth check” wise, it’s pretty logical to say Harden > Kobe at this point, achilles or not.

  • Free

    Respect. Even though we all know that really belongs to Kevin Love

  • thebossman15

    yea coming off a championship..nice try dumass..and he is an elite defender when he really wants too be..in his prime he was always locked in, just now he is much older and cant expend as much energy defensively cuz then he might wear out offensively

  • Free

    Damn really? Wade didn’t get it even once?
    Not after 2006 finals? wait nevermind 81 points
    Okay but not even after his monster 2008-2009 season of 30 7 n 5? Wait nevermind Kobe wins first chip without Shaq?
    Forreal thou Wade deserved that at least 1nce he definitely has been the number 1 SG at some point since 2005

  • Free

    Damn really? Wade didn’t get it even once?
    Not after 2006 finals? wait nevermind 81 points
    Okay but not even after his monster 2008-2009 season of 30 7 n 5? Wait nevermind Kobe wins first chip without Shaq.
    Damn, Wade deserved that at least 1nce he definitely has been the number 1 SG at some point since 2005

  • thebossman15

    lmao your clueless man, kobe was a better passer and rebounder last year..take ur halo display pic having ass too a gaming forum

  • MackAtttack

    James Harden is the real deal, all-around scoring machine and improving defender. Watch Houston sometime this year you’ll find out

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    but isn’t that the point? His youth, mobility and ability to command the offense as seen with his ability to get to the line FTA makes him a better player? Wade isn’t a first option and his efficiency is supported by the fact that he doesn’t carry a team. Kobe may or may not come back doesn’t matter. His run is over. No 6th ring unless he signs veteran minimum to get a 6th ring with another squad

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    What does motivation have to do with? Kobe can go out put 40 points 10 straight games won’t matter we know he can score even if it costs his team a chip. Harden’s goal are championship. Kobe isn’t making past first round with the lakers. Harden will adjust to a playmaking role to get the bigs involved. You act as if Kobe somehow went adding velocity and now he’s adding velocity

  • Caboose

    Haha, you still hold onto those myths? Do you still believe in Zeus?

  • King David

    he is better than Wade but he seriously overrated with the way he preforms in the playoffs

  • Cortez Mack

    Luckily GMs do not pick players to win one game.

    And what exactly would Wade being “injury prone” have to do with my explicitly stated scenario of winning ONE GAME anyway?


    I, and presumably you, have seen Wade in his current condition step up in the grandest of moments and produce buckets. In fact, you are most likely going to see it again in a few more months. While, at the same time, Harden will have been sent home, yet again.

  • cgeorge22

    Drose and the Bulls getting forgotten? Theyre going to prove otherwise

  • Drig

    Plays no D for most of the season but then starts to pull his weight in the post season. Shoots 43 percent while predominantly operating from the perimeter because Pau and Bynum needed space in the middle.

    The logic doesn’t seem quite the same here.

  • Caboose

    Has to cover the other team’s best scorer because his backcourt mate is Jeremy Lin. Doesn’t have Metta to back him up.

    Shoots 43% as the sole offense creator on the team.

    You’re right, it’s not the same, but let’s not pretend Kobe somehow had the harder situation.

  • shaylynnvacca321

    my Aunty Olivia recently got
    an awesome Honda by work parttime using a lap-top… imp source J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • KingBenjamin

    If it’s based off their performances last season than they should have Kobe ahead of Harden, Kobe had a better season.

    Kobe Bryant 12-13 Stats
    27.3 ppg 6.0 apg 5.6 rpg 1.4 spg 46% fg 23.10 PER

    James Harden 12-13 Stats
    25.9 ppg 5.8 apg 4.9 rpg 1.8 spg 44% fg 23.00 PER

    The only way Harden is better than Kobe is if Kobe can’t be himself after the Achilles injury and I doubt that will happen.

  • Lloyd

    You can doubt it all you want, but Kobe most likely won’t be back to the level he was playing at before the injury. If they were neck and neck last season, Kobe will be far behind this year.

    I would love to hear why you “doubt” that Kobe won’t be himself upon returning though.

  • grgeblck

    I am sure Grandma is proud of her.

  • grgeblck

    Adding velocity? Don’t tell me.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    greg what up how’s pittsburgh

  • grgeblck

    I am not sure. But I know Bangkok is banging kok.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    so where you from? and why did you get into slam

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe


    Inform him why harden is the best sg in the league.

  • lastsamurai852

    Note to dwade*

    Make NBA GMs respect your place in history…

  • grgeblck

    I am from a tiny island called Taiwan, but I am currently residing in Thailand. I love balling so therefore I am here.

  • AddingVelocityDontTellMe

    Taipei stock exchange is marvelous

  • michael_cooper21

    reminds me of the last second shot at the goodman league. harden was helpless in guarding kobes.

  • Sérgio

    Well, we don’t know how Kobe will recover. But he surely was better than Harden last season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    It was arguable. I agree, but it was still debatable

  • KingBenjamin

    Let me rephrase, Kobe will be the same player he was before the injury. I don’t doubt Kobe Bryant.

  • Drig

    Cover the team’s best scorer = actually cover the other team’s best scorer. Not be a traffic cone for opposing players.

    He’s absolutely horrific at defending off the ball. Even worse than Kobe right now. He doesn’t rotate on time or close out effectively on help D.

    His D on isolations, PnRs AND pull-up Js, according to synergy sports have him at 73rd, 129th and 200+ in the L. This is with Asik covering for all his mistakes.

    Doesn’t have Metta to back him up? True. Still, Harden didn’t have to learn how to shoot with a torn ligament on his shooting hand on the fly or play with a bum knee OR have to play without a bench for large parts of the season,no?

    Again, I’ll shut up if Harden can maintain his impact on the floor with Dwight and improve his D to atleast Kobe’s level.

  • Lloyd

    And there it is…your reason is based completely in fanboydem and not on anything real.

    18 players have gone through a comparable injury since 1992. 7 of them never played again. Only 8 played multiple seasons after that but their production dropped severely (4.6 PER drop= The difference between Kobe and Erson Ilyasova). Keep in mind, the average time that that group had been in the league was 7 seasons at 29 years of age. Kobe has 17 seasons under his belt and is going to be 35. Way more miles/wear and tear.

    The only player ever to come back from this type of injury and dominate again was Dominique Wilkins at the age of 32. At the time of his injury, he had logged 27,000 minutes over 10 seasons in the NBA. Kobe literally doubles his minutes and that’s not including his International play. Those achilles’ tendons have seen a looot of baseketball.

    A better comparison would be Isaiah Thomas who at the age of 32, with 13+ seasons under his belt and almost 40,000 NBA minutes to his name suffered the same injury. He never played again after it.

    Kobe will comeback but it’s ridiculous to say he’s going to be the same player. But I’m sure you’ll just read all these facts and go “but he’s Kobe!” which a ridiculous argument so please don’t

  • KingBenjamin

    Typical Kobe hater, what you don’t understand is that Kobe isn’t those 18 players, he’s Kobe MF Bryant one of the toughest players in the history of basketball. It’s not ridiculous to say that he’ll be the same player again because he’s one of the 10 greatest players ever, don’t doubt the Black Mamba, think what you want bud, you’re not changing my stance.

  • Lloyd

    I’m actually not a Kobe hater. I hate Kobe fanboys like you.

    I didn’t attack Kobe personally in any way in my comment. I outlined facts about achilles injuries that pertained to NBA players and why it’s very likely that he won’t have to same level of production upon his return. I would’ve been open to any argument from “sports science has come a long way since and rehab works miracles now” to “Kobe doesn’t have to rely on his athleticism because his skillset and intelligence would suffice” (which wouldn’t change anything), but you went with “he’s Kobe MF Bryant”.

    I’m sorry to break this news to you brother, but he’s just a man and his body is made out of the same flesh and blood as yours. He may be a great basketball player but he has to succumb to the limits of the flesh just like anyone else. Will can only take you so far when your body just cannot go any further. I hope your psyche can take it when your god comes back and can’t live up to your unrealistic expectations of him.