Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Stats & Info [Print without images]

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Did OKC make mistake by trading Harden?

By Justin Page & Micah Adams, ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com

Rick Osentoski/US PresswireJames Harden is leading the NBA in scoring this season.
James Harden is making many people think the Oklahoma City Thunder made a bad decision by trading him - and rightfully so.

Harden, who is playing 10.3 more minutes per game this season compared to last, leads the league in scoring with 35.3 points per game.

But perhaps the trade will end up being a win-win for both the Houston Rockets and Thunder - at least for this season as Martin is in the last year of his contract. Through four games - admittedly, a very small sample size - Martin is averaging 19.3 points per game, a 2.5 point increase over what Harden put up last season in an OKC uniform.

Martin scored 15 points last night in just 22 minutes of action. He's making more than three 3-pointers per game while shooting nearly 62 percent from behind the arc. It's also noteworthy that Jeremy Lamb - the other key piece in the trade along with draft picks - has scored six points in just seven total minutes this season.

Among the 96 players that have logged at least 100 minutes on the court this season, Harden and Martin rank first and tied for seventh, respectively, in points per 48 minutes. Russell Westbrook is averaging 28.9 points per 48 minutes while Kevin Durant is averaging 25.7.

Harden has 106 points through three games, the second-most points through the first three team games of a season in Rockets franchise history (Moses Malone had 107 points through three games in 1981).

Perhaps the craziest part of Harden's start is that we should have seen it coming. Last year in Oklahoma City, Harden averaged nearly 35 points per 40 minutes when he was not sharing the floor with Durant. This season, Harden’s per game numbers are eerily similar to his per 40 minute averages with Durant off the floor last season.

Harden is the first player with at least 106 points, 19 rebounds and 19 assists in his team’s first three games of a season since Michael Jordan in 1989-90.