When looking at NBA players, height is one of the first aspects people consider. It’s a tall sport, with the average player standing head and shoulders above regular citizens. While those extra inches aren’t everything, they certainly matter. Especially for guards.
Below, I will look at the height of James Harden. Studying his size will shed light on the current NBA, how the league shifted over time, as well why being big around the point or wing is so important.
Harden’s Height (and Weight)
Before getting into the logistics behind Harden’s height, we first need to look at his dimensions. The superstar stands a strong 6’5 and weighs in at 220 pounds. That puts him well above many other guards in the league.
When compared to the rest of the NBA, Harden has an above average frame. Currently, moden point guards stand an average of 6’3 and weigh around 191 pounds. Even looking at shooting guards, the average height and weight is 6’5 and 205 pounds.
With that, it’s easy to see why Harden is such a great player. His height lines up, but he has extra pounds on just about everyone else at either of the two positions he plays. That also comes with an incredible amount of quickness and craftiness people his size don’t have.
A Few Extra Inches
As mentioned, height is not everything. Even so, the more you get away from the key, the more it matters.
Big men can only be so large, but most outside players are on the smaller side. If one big man is larger than another, it’s not a huge deal. The same is not true, however, of guards.
Some of the best guards in NBA history were bigger than their defenders. Harden is not quite on the same level as Magic Johnson or Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he’s still well over the league average for weight. That gives him a clear advantage over similar players.
Being able to muscle up your defender creates many more offensive options. It also makes defense easier, as you can play up and use your size to not let your opponent get by you.
The Power of Height
While Harden is certainly much bigger than most guards in the current NBA, he’s indicative of a growing trend. Smaller NBA players are getting larger over time. Most guards were around 6 feet in the 60’s and 70’s, but they have grown a few inches since then.
While point guards were also around 6’3 in the middle of the 1980’s, it dipped back down moving into the 90’s. Since then, the league has been on a steadily upwards trajectory of taller guards and wings. That extra size, mixed with speed, is a great asset to have.
Though bigger typically meant slower in the past, that’s not the case anymore. Now, most larger wings are able to cut, move, and jab just as well as their smaller counterparts. Harden falls into that category, delivering a lethal stepback and quick release in a much bigger frame.
James Harden is not one of the tallest players in the league, but he is quite large for a guard. That extra bulk is one of the biggest reasons he’s able to play in the way that he does, and gives him an edge by allowing him to go above and beyond his competition.
Not all guards have a lot of power. In fact, many of the best ones in today’s game are much smaller than Harden. Still, it’s hard to deny the extra strength he has enabled him to grow into the star he is today.