The Philadelphia 76ers open their regular season Thursday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, but one question has been hanging over the Sixers. This question could affect the team’s preseason odds at Pennsylvania sports betting sites and is more pressing than their fate in one game out of 82 on opening night against an Eastern Conference rival:
What’s up with James Harden?
The star guard re-signed with Philadelphia on a player option over the summer, but things have gone sour between him and the organization. Harden wants to be traded and has been holding out of training camp and the preseason.
Still, Harden is one of the top scorers of his generation and wherever he winds up, he’ll still provide plenty of offense. So PennStakes.com, the home of the best PA sportsbook promo codes, wondered where he will end up on the NBA’s all-time scoring list at the end of this season, whether he pours in those baskets for the 76ers or some other team:
Odds of Harden’s Place In Career Points By End Of 2023-24
Factors Weighing For, Against Harden
We produced these hypothetical odds as an exclusive to PennStakes.com; you will not find them on Pennsylvania sports betting apps.
Entering this season, Harden – in a 13-year career with the Thunder, Rockets, Nets and now Sixers – is No. 25 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 24,693 career points.
He led the league in scoring average three years in a row including the 2018-19 season, when he averaged 36.1 points a game for Houston. But as he has bounced around the league, those numbers have dropped in recent years. Harden averaged 21 ppg in 2022-23, his first full season with the Sixers, who he joined in a midseason trade on Feb. 10, 2022.
The Los Angeles native turned 34 in August and figures to have a few good years left in him if he wants, though as his holdout continues it is looking less likely that he’ll score very many of those points – if any – with the Sixers, who have +2800 odds at Caesars Pennsylvania Sportsbook to win the NBA title.
Where We Think Harden Will Wind Up On List
Assuming Harden gets back to playing sometime soon, here’s how we see his spot on the career scoring list at the end of the season. Our list is based on points scored in the NBA only, not including the ABA.
We have him as a huge favorite to overhaul the next three players on the NBA scoring list: No. 24 Patrick Ewing (24,815 points), No. 23 Jerry West (25,192) and No. 22 Reggie Miller (25,279). Where it starts to get interesting is at No. 21, the spot currently occupied by Alex English (25,613). Harden would need 920 points to overhaul English and we think the veteran has very good odds to do that.
The next spot up the list is No. 20, Vince Carter (25,728 points). This is the most likely spot for Harden to land according to our odds, at -300, which translates to a 75% chance. Harden would need 1,035 points in the 2023-24 season to land here. If we’re just going by statistics, this would seem to be an easy goal. But between his uncertain playing status right now and his advancing age, assuming this is not a sure thing.
Still, Harden has scored more than 1,035 points in every season since 2011-12 – even in the shortened season of 2020-21, when he played just 44 games – so if he even plays 50 games, a spot in the top 20 should be attainable.
We think Harden is less likely (at +600 odds, a 14.3% chance) to pass Kevin Garnett, who is No. 19 with 26,071 points. Harden would need 1,378 points to get there; again, just a few years ago this would have seemed an easy bet, but perhaps not in 2023-24. The odds of Harden catching No. 18 John Havlicek (26,395) or No. 17 Paul Pierce (26,397) are even steeper.
Philadelphia is a 5.5-point underdog against Milwaukee for Thursday’s game at BetMGM Pennsylvania Sportsbook, with or without Harden.