James Harden says he's 'probably' the best player in the league
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports / reuters

Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden didn't mince words when asked who the league's best player was.

Harden made a similar claim earlier last summer after capturing gold for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup.

When Harden last made his claim, his assertion was roundly mocked. It wasn't that Harden was far from the mark - he did capture First Team All-NBA honors - but with Kevin Durant fresh off an MVP award and LeBron James qualifying for four-straight Finals appearances, Harden was most certainly a notch below. Of note, Harden was also one of the most ineffectual defenders in the league.

However, Harden has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate this season. He leads the league in points per game at 27.4, while also adding in 5.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists along with two steals per game. James has also improved significantly as a defender and has single-handedly dragged the Rockets to a stellar 36-17 record at the All-Star break.

Of course, James remains formidable and Durant is still on the upshot of his career trajectory. But for the time being, there's a bit of truth in Harden's claim.

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James Harden says he's 'probably' the best player in the league
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