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Daryl Morey is never afraid to make waves in the NBA world with strong takes based on analytics. He’s previously argued that LeBron James is unquestionably the GOAT ahead of Michael Jordan, and the Rockets GM has gone on record stating that he believes James Harden is the greatest scorer ever.

In an appearance on the Selfmade with Nadeshot podcast, Morey spelled out exactly why it’s “factual” that Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan ever was.

Daryl Morey: “We put all our assets in to trade for him, but no one could anticipate he’d be the best player in the world.”

Jackson Dahl: “Why did you put all your assets? Why him?”

Daryl Morey: “So both the eye test, because he looks amazing, I think anyone who watched him [would agree]. If you looked at data at the time, once he had the ball in his hands – and it’s still true to this day. And I get a lot of [expletive] because someone asks me ‘who’s the better scorer? [Harden] or Michael Jordan?’ And it’s just factual that James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan.

Based on literally you give James Harden the ball and before you’re giving up the ball how many points do you generate, which is how you should measure offense, James Harden is by far No. 1 in NBA history. And he was No. 1 even at the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s just he was coming off the bench, it was a little more hidden. So you needed good data to sort of suss that out.”

Morey, of course, likely knows he’s never going to win this debate in the court of public opinion. Harden’s style of play has become so polarizing that many fans are simply unwilling to praise his effectiveness. Jordan loyalists, meanwhile, don’t care about facts. They will forever be able to retreat to an unbeatable positions that “Jordan would be even better if he was in his prime now,” “Jordan would will his team past Harden’s team because of his killer instinct,” and “Harden would never be as successful in the 90s.” All three points can never be proved or disproved, so it’s not even worth arguing, and Morey himself said in the podcast that it’s “reasonable” to take Jordan’s side.

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“The counter argument is reasonable. They say if you put Michael Jordan on a team now, he would do more than James Harden. That’s possible. But if you’re just saying, like NBA history, if you give this guy the ball how much does his team score after you give him the ball before the other team gets the ball, it’s James Harden. And I know that makes people mad, but it’s literally a fact.” 

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