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Monday, November 14, 2011

WEEK 3, DEBATE 1: Brandon Jennings vs. James Harden



Who would you rather have this season: Brandon Jennings or James Harden?

"The future. That’s how I’ll describe Brandon Jennings. In a time when it’s hard to pin-point that classic all-compassing point-guard, it’s a credit to Jennings that he continues to shine in all facets of the game – namely a high scorer and a wonderfully efficient assister. And what’s more impressive is that Jennings is improving! Although Harden has come on well himself, it’s hard to compare him to someone who’s been a starter and has carried the burden of his team. Jennings is not only a fine manager of the game but an explosive weapon on offense as shown by his 55 points against Golden State in November 2009 – at just age 19. With his array of skills, clever link-play, shooting, speed and all-round athleticism Jennings offers more pound-for-pound to a team than Harden. Jennings is an elite talent – one that will continue to wow the NBA for some time."

"If I have to make a choice between these two young talents for next season, James Harden is my clear choice. Harden is a durable player that is scary when driving the lane. An instant-offense machine, Harden was the only player other than Durant that could create any offensive opportunities during OKC’s great playoff run. At an efficient FG rate of 47.5% in the playoffs and an incredible 53.5% in the Western Conference Finals, everyone was wondering why Harden wasn’t starting. Every OKC fan is hoping he gets that chance this season. Only the opposite could be said about Brandon Jennings. His inability to make shots really hurts his team. Unlike a player like Rondo, who may shoot poorly but can still dish assists, Jennings doesn’t possess that capability. He owns a sub .400 FG% paired with an inferior 49% True Shooting percentage. I have to choose Harden over Jennings."

"Points taken, but starting a season I’m taking someone who’s proven he can lead a team, something we shouldn’t forget when speaking of Jennings – named to the 2010 All-Rookie First Team despite playing for what wasn’t exactly an elite side. Jennings has superior vision and can score without dominating the ball. His FG% is low because he’s shooting more often than Harden due to carrying his team’s offense. Still, Jennings has handled the pressure excellently and, truth be told, his only obstacle last season was injury. It’s different for Harden who’s under no pressure to gun-sling; that job is firmly with Durant and Westbrook. Jennings averaged 14.7 attempts-per-game (2010-11), almost double Harden’s numbers. Furthermore, these are mostly difficult shots Jennings has created through moments of magic. He’s also clutch. In 2009-10, Jennings’ Playoff production improved to a big-time 18.7 points-per-game, 3.0 rebounds-per-game and 3.6 assists-per-game. That’s Young Money for you."

"I don’t see how being a starting PG for a non-contending team qualifies as a proven leader. 'Jennings... can score without dominating the ball?' Isn’t his low FG%, high PPG and low assists (for a PG) suggest that he’s selfish and dominates the ball? Don’t his 'difficult shots... created through moments of magic' at .390 FG% mean he is a poor leader who doesn’t trust his teammates? I can’t take that risk when I can choose an upwards-trending player like Harden. Yes! Harden’s 2011 Playoff averages were significant. I don’t see any for Jennin... oh that’s right, he wasn’t in the Playoffs last year. Better teams, bigger stage, tougher game-to-game strategies and yet Harden's still a scoring phenom. Let’s get real, a superior player already with a kick-ass PR-line: 'Fear the Beard.'"

Who won this debate? Go to the right sidebar to cast your vote!


  1. Maybe I'm alone here, but I think the 2009 draft class (which both of these players were part of) has a chance to go down as one of the deepest of all-time. Blake Griffin, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Tyler Hansbrough, Austin Daye, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor, Darren Collison, Rodrigue Beaubois, Taj Gibson, Toney Douglas, Marcus Thornton, DeJuan Blair - that's 18 already established rotation players in this league. I would say the jury's still out on Ricky Rubio, Jordan Hill, Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark, Omri Casspi, Dante Cunningham, Jonas Jerebko,Chase Budinger, and A.J. Price. Now you tell me, can you EVER remember a draft class where over 25 players were still earning significant minutes going into their 3rd seasons?

  2. What's really nuts is that everyone talked about how weak that draft was heading into it. Perhaps there aren't many game-changers (really, Griffin is probably the only "elite" player), but you're right, Phil, the depth is amazing. Hopefully everyone will be proven equally wrong about this past June's draft class.

  3. Man, I really love the way James Harden plays basketball. He's just a beast driving to the basket. Entering the league, and through his rookie season he was mainly a three point shooter who spread the floor. But he expanded his game to a whole new level last season. He'a a great passer, FANTASTIC at drawing fouls, can shoot the ball, and can rebound. Harden, in my estimation, is one of the best players in the NBA that nobody talks about.

  4. If Harden doesn't start again this season, you can just give him the Sixth Man of Year trophy right now.

  5. Well, you know, if we have a season. *barf*

  6. I'm kind of disappointed Harden's rep didn't mention his majestic beard. He definitely is on the All-Beard team. Here's the rest:

    PG Baron Davis
    SG James Harden
    SF LeBron's neck beard
    PF Drew Gooden's spider beard
    C Chris Kaman
    Player/Coach Rasheed Wallace

    Anyone I'm missing?

  7. Nice Canaan, but of course you need a bench:

    PG Deron Williams
    SG DeShawn Stevenson
    SF Peja Stojakovic
    PF Ronny Turiaf
    C Al Jefferson
    Assistant Coaches: Vlade Divac, Scott Pollard

    Tried out but got cut: Gilbert Arenas

  8. @Canaan, the last line of Harden's Rep's argument says Fear the Beard...

  9. Thanks Anonymous. I am not a very careful reader.