Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 43.8-percent shooting
Deserved Selection: Second Team
Lucky for all of us, James Harden wasn't left off the rosters altogether. Otherwise, you would be on your way to perusing hundreds upon hundreds of words about why the world is secretly conspiring against athletes with totally awesome (albeit troublingly untamed) beards.
The Houston Rockets looked good with Harden. Really good. He carried them on his back for the entire season, all the while putting any notion that he wasn't a legitimate superstar to bed.
Harden finished in the top five in scoring, earned his first ever All-Star selection and led the youngest team in the NBA to 45 regular-season wins. How is that not deserving of a Second-Team sighting?
His snub is even more difficult to understand when you put his season in historical context.
Only eight other players in NBA history have averaged at least 25 points, five assists, four rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in the same season before their 24th birthday. Three of the eight are Hall of Famers—Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Michael Jordan—while three others are some of the biggest stars—Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose—in the league today.
Citing guards as snubs is always risky business because of how deep the NBA's collective backcourt pool is. Such depth isn't enough to justify Harden's absence from the second, though.
Not even close.