Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
If you size Harden and Bosh up based on lifetime achievements, it’s almost too stupid to say that Harden is the better player. Bosh is an eight-time All-Star and hasn’t missed those honors since 2006. He’s simply been excellent for longer.
But if we’re putting weight into the “what have you done for me lately” conversation—and we should—the debate changes considerably.
Bosh was a non-presence for far too much of the Heat’s latest title run. Eschewing his post game for perimeter shots, the 7-footer became timid. He was then purposefully left open by defenses to take ill-advised three-pointers against both Indiana and San Antonio. These open looks were invitations that Bosh should not have returned.
Doubts have surfaced, of course, about how valuable of a player Bosh still is. In the eyes of many, he seems to have lost a lot of his competitive edge and now relies too much on the greatness of LeBron James.
Harden, on the other hand, is riding a hot streak. He forged a remarkable new playing identity in his first year in Houston; so much so, that he’s now way atop the list of players you’d want to start a franchise around. Bosh? He’s slipping further down it with every game he appears more passive in. The upcoming season could reverse these players’ paths—it is a contract year for Bosh, after all—but for now, Harden seems like the choice.
This is especially true when we realize that Harden carried a heavier load than Bosh this past season, and still managed an efficiency rating 3 pointers better; Bosh's was 20.00, Harden's, again, was 23.00.