Ranking the 7 best available point guards in NBA free agency

Fred VanVleet NBA #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet NBA #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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NBA. Free Agency.
James Harden #1 and Joel Embiid #21 NBA. Free Agency. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

NBA Point Guard #2: James Harden

There is unquestionably no secret around the league about the fatigue and exhaustion of James Harden’s antics. For greatness or without. He stepped into media day confidently, claiming that he had lost 100 pounds and that he was as lean as he seemed, as if he had become a different person in Houston. In a season where he was at the forefront of Philadelphia’s strong season, Harden actually missed out on the All-Star game and All-NBA teams.

Plenty of deserving stretches, like when he was unable to reach 20 points only twice in a 10-game span entering spring. There were plenty of experts and analysts, like ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, who thought the three-time scoring champ was All-NBA-esc in his limited 58 games. At least for a portion of his season. Harden looked poised to finally prove the world wrong.

But what happened? Once again, it was all too familiar when James was a bus driver. He gave you glimpses—some flashes—of his old self in that fully red Houston gear. He gave you two shots in an emphasis on edging out two wins against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference. But it all resulted in the movie we have seen before. The moment got brighter when it came to executing in the postseason, as Harden typically went missing.

It definitely did not help when former coach Doc Rivers went on Bill Simmons’ podcast and let it out about the fit and relationship.

To be fair, Rivers giving Harden the green light to play into his habits and attend Las Vegas in one of the biggest series’ of his life is nothing to rave about either. Harden still led the NBA in assists. Soon to be 34, the former MVP sure did continue to prove that his style of basketball is not the primary recipe for winning with his abundance of ball dominance. But he still played into the role he founded in Brooklyn as well as the obvious traditional point.

Go figure with the league MVP on his team. Rivers expressed that it was not easy maintaining that role. It was believed that the beard was not greatly supportive of Rivers. Clearly, when he said, “Relationship is okay,” between the two as the season concluded, He clearly still has some off-court personality issues that have lingered with him over the years.

This time last year, the 76ers were getting ready to give Harden a discounted, friendly deal in efforts to improve the team. That agenda later included adding some of his former Rocket teammates to maximize the Hall of Famer’s comfort, which did not seem to factor much.

Go figure. Shadows of an odd return-to-Houston rumor puzzlingly followed him through 2022–23. Even after brushing it off a couple times. Analysis had James’ eyes all over the potential scenario. The season ended, and Harden was not hesitant to decline his option. Entering the scenery was a loud report from Shams Charania of the 10x All-Star being ‘torn between going back to Houston or remaining in Philadelphia.

It all makes sense with Udoka, the Rockets cap space, and bulletin board plans of potential names. Also, their gaping hole of maturity

A report came out today:

Whether it be due to Phoenix’s acquisition of Bradley Beal cutting chances of a third run with Kevin Durant, Rivers being out for Nurse, we won’t know until the beard inks a paper. No one has forgotten about MVP Harden. One of the best shows and scorers in the history of basketball, could be one of the hungriest pillars in the league in terms of winning.

Any organization is and will be grateful to have the beard for any role. Ask fellow historian and good friend Daryl Morey, who did not even blink when it came to reuniting with the Sixers. No matter what negative trend was sticking at the time. Flaws, public embarrassment and above all, poor leadership that has improved.

The accurate prediction as of today still remains that there is a good chance Harden lands back with the Rockets.