UAAP x NBA Comparison: Juan Gomez de Liano and James Harden
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 19, 2019 06:23 AM
In this series, we take UAAP ballers and their closest NBA counterparts, mostly for fun, and for a greater appreciation of their uniquely similar skill sets. (Harden photo by David J, Phillip, Associated Press)
The UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament has concluded for over a month now, and while the collegiate hoops action won't return until later this year, the NBA has been in full swing.
In this series, we take UAAP ballers and their closest NBA counterparts, mostly for fun, and for a greater appreciation of their uniquely similar skill sets.
We should remember that there's no denying these NBA players are in a literal and figurative league on their own, but seeing even a glimmer of resemblance of NBA talent from young players in the UAAP is already quite the achievement.
We open this series with the inimitable James Harden and his UAAP counterpart, UP's Juan Gomez de Liano.
Before you close the page, hear us out.
James Harden is the reigning MVP of the NBA, and is currently tearing up the league with his historic scoring spree in the first half of the season.
His production has been the key in putting him in the MVP conversation once more.
Juan Gomez de Liano might not be the scoring threat just yet, there are still a number of ways these lefty lane lacerators are alike. Let's count the ways.
Let's start with the obvious.
Harden and GDL are both lefties and are likewise, experts in exploiting the quirky playstyle brought upon by their better dexterity in using their left hand. Add the fact that both of them are conisdered tall for their position and you have yourself a match-up nightmare.
Speaking of positions, the point guard is arguably the most constant part of a five-man lineup, even in the current positionless trend in basketball.
While their scoring makes James and Juan similarly deadly, it's their superior playmaking, unselfishness, and ability to find the open man makes them a cut above the rest of the competition.
Double team Harden and GDL, and you'll see an orange blur flying to an open man for an easy bucket.
A closer look at that beauty from Juan GDL 👀 pic.twitter.com/3EdGhRoBKX— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 14, 2018
James Harden is only behind Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons in the NBA's triple-double leaderboard for the season with six.
While Juan GDL has tallied only one triple-double in his collegiate career -- coming close multiple times near the end of the season 81 elimination round -- something tells us that there are more to come, especially with that masterful effort.
The importance of a three-pointer needs no explanation. Threes are more than two-pointers. It's simple math. What's not so simple is trying to guard both Harden and GDL when both of them can tear through the paint, and light it up from downtown.
Last season, Juan GDL connected on 26 three-pointers off 80 attempts. That's a cool 32.% shooting clip that puts him above the field in the UAAP.
Meanwhil Harden has made 199 threes off 531 attempts. That's 37.5% clip for The Beard, also above the league average of 35.5%.
But enough of the numbers. These lefty shooters' form when firing from deep is just a joy to watch, especially from waaaaaay downtown:
Aside from their range, Harden and Juan also boast quick and light feet that can easily slither through the defense when given even a sliver of space.
Harden has the Eurostep. So does Juan. They also both have the creativity and strength to convert on some wild finishes at the rim.
When the paint is packed, however, both can also break out a stepback jumper right in the faces of their defenders.
Juan doesn't hide his admiration for The Beard, and it's easy to see how he constantly studies Harden's wild celebrations, aside from his moves, no matter how wild they get.
The wild hair. The fashion. The sneakers. We rest our case.