Chicago Bulls: 3 modern day scorers that compare closest to MJ

Trae Young, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Trae Young, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

1. James Harden, Houston Rockets

It’s hard to argue that the best raw scorer in the NBA in this day and age is not the Rockets superstar shooting guard and former MVP Harden. This eight-time NBA All-Star selection, two-time scoring champion, six-time All-NBA selection, and one-time NBA MVP honoree, is the most accomplished player on this list by far.

And that’s not hard to fathom since Harden played in the NBA now for around one decade compared to less than four seasons combined between Trae and Luka.

The main similarity between that of MJ and Harden is the way that they commanded the defense with the ball in their hands. When the Bulls were running the offense through MJ, the refs were on full alert, the opposing defense had to dramatically alter almost every aspect of the way they were guarding the perimeter (or wherever Jordan was on the floor).

Similar to that of Trae and Luka, Harden doesn’t always post the best shooting percentages thanks to the raw volume of field goal attempts he gets per game. In each of the last three seasons, Harden averaged more than 20 field goal attempts per game (most of the time well over that number). That was true for Jordan too for most of the years of his NBA career.

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It’s rare to find that type of volume at any point in NBA history for any team’s superstars. The career stat line of Harden, with 25.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, is more similar to that of MJ than the two other superstar scorers on this list. In the season that is currently on pause, Harden is averaging 34.4 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.