Houston Rockets superstar and 2019 NBA MVP candidate James Harden is coming off one of the greatest regular seasons in league history.
The guard averaged 36.1 points per game, which is the most since Michael Jordan in 1986-1987. Perhaps more impressive is the margin between his scoring average and everyone else in the league, a gap not seen since the early 1960s.
During the 1961-62 and 1962-63 season, Wilt Chamberlain outscored the second-leading scorer in the NBA by double-digits. With 50.4 points per game at the end of 1963, Chamberlain led Walt Bellamy by an additional 18.8 points per game.
Since then, however, only Jordan was able to take a lead by seven points or more. Back in 1987, the five-time MVP was able to outpace Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins by 8.05 points per game. Harden just eclipsed that margin this season with a scoring total 8.09 points more than what Oklahoma City Thunder wing Paul George recorded.
For comparison, the Houston superstar dropped 30.4 points per game when he won the MVP award last season. While it allowed him to take home the top honor in the league, it beat the runner-up – New Orleans Pelicans big Anthony Davis – by just 2.3 points per game.
The average difference between No. 1 and No. 2 in the NBA since 1946 has been 2.97 points per game. Since the two dominant outlier campaigns from Chamberlain, that number has dropped to 2.55 points per game.