Colin Cowherd: James Harden Is Karl Malone

Mar 25, 2021, 11:42 AM | Updated: 11:45 am
Karl Malone - Utah Jazz...
Karl Malone #32 of the Utah Jazz during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 1, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. The Jazz won 94-89. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On Thursday’s episode of “The Herd” famed radio host Colin Cowherd compared Brooklyn Nets superstar guard James Harden to Utah Jazz Hall of Famer Karl Malone.

“Karl Malone’s got the second-most points,” Cowherd said. “More than Michael [Jodan], more than LeBron [James], more than Kobe [Bryant], more than Hakeem [Olajuwon], more than Shaq, more than everybody except Kareem. No rings.”

Like Malone throughout his career, Harden is one of the NBA’s most dominant scorers, and powerhouse offensively during the regular season. However, Cowherd argued that their dependence on getting foul calls erases their scoring advantage in the playoffs.

“It’s not that he didn’t ever get the whistle, but you don’t get it in those big deciding games,” Cowherd said of Malone’s playoff shortcomings. “James Harden similarly has 23 times in his career scored over 50 points. Never in the playoffs. Because to score 50 points, you’ve got to get to the free-throw line a lot and you do not in the playoffs.”

Harden has scored at least 40 points eight times during his postseason career, but never more than 45 in a single game.

Malone broke the 40 point barrier only four times in the postseason, including a 50 point outing against the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000.

“It’s not to say this team can’t get to the Finals,” Cowherd said of Harden’s Nets roster, “but that ball-centric style — how many years are we going to see it? It rolls in the regular season. It dries up in the postseason.”

To counter Cowherd’s argument, Harden’s free-throw attempts per 36 minutes drop from 9.1 in the regular season to 8.2 in the playoffs. Malone’s dropped from 8.7 to 7.9.

Is one free-throw per game enough to alter a player’s entire offensive efficiency in the playoffs? You be the judge.

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