I am glad Kelsey Plum has taken a stance on not being compared to James Harden.
Kelsey Plum is a one in a million talent basketball player. She has had a rocky start to the season but over the past few games has showed us she is the exceptional talent that was taken with the first pick of the 2017 WNBA draft. Plum shot to fame thanks to the tremendous talents that allowed her to break so many records in college.
Unfortunately, due to being a left handed, high ball usage point guard, she was compared to James Harden. We all remember the video. If not, here it is below.
Now, I would like to explain to you why Plum is in fact the first Kelsey Plum and not the female James Harden.
1. Her offence
Plum is a quality three point shooter, her stats at the start of the season did not reflect this but it has come back. Part of this is the healing of her ankle which she injured at the start of the season. Another part is the increased confidence she appears to have in her place in the offence. In the past few games she has owned the baseline, scoring at will with drives.
If this sounds like Harden then understand this is where the comparison stops. Plum does not base a large part of her offence on trying to collect another players arms, flailing around like a windmill to get to the line. Plum drives hard and when she gets basketball contact goes to the line.
Plum is a willing passer of the ball. That does not make her like Harden, it makes her a good basketball player. Her two player game with Isabelle Harrison is just pretty to watch.
In recent games, Plum has shown a willingness to work within the team needs and play at the off-guard on offense. Even when harden was listed at this position, he always needs to control the team
2. Her defense
The fact she actually plays defence separates her from Harden. The knock on Plum when she was talked about before the draft was how her defence would go at the highest level. Well, thankfully, Plum defended with intent and vigour when her shot was not falling, keeping her in the game when she otherwise may have been benched.
Plum is constantly in front of her player on drives, switches as required and is often the player contesting the perimeter shot as it goes up.
She is also allowing Moriah Jefferson to rest on defense by taking the opposition point guard on defense. This shows a willingness and a skill which Harden does not appear to have.
3. Her Attitude
I will never forget the attitude Harden showed when he lost the MVP race to Stephen Curry. Apart from the fact he acted like he should have won, he came back the next year out of shape and condition. This is not good enough for a professional athlete. He also tends to complain to the refs if he does not get the call he wants.
Compare this to Plum who simply gets on with the game. If she does not agree with a call you will see her jump a little while turning away and a slight compression of the lips. Plum also does this when she makes a mistake. We all show our displeasure in different ways but this is a much better example for those who watch the game, looking for role-models.
Kelsey Plum is a basketball player in her own right. She has developed her own style of play which incorporates the skills of other players into it. By the end of her career, she has the potential to sit atop the all-time scoring list. I also believe she will rise to the top of the all-time three point shots attempted and made list as well.
Plum will see her out her rookie contract with the San Antonio Stars, unless she is traded. She will learn, she will grow in her game. If the Stars are smart, they will build the roster further around Plum, Kayla McBride and Miriam Jefferson, giving them a winning formula. If they are not and use Plum the way she would benefit a team, Plum