The Matchup: This Maroon Madness Sweet 16 matchup features two athletes who completely dominated the first round voting. James Harden won by landslide after gathering 93 percent of the vote over Jim Jeffcoat. Harden’s new opponent, Andre Ethier, took his first-round victory with 59 percent of the vote over Lionel Hollins.
No. 1 James Harden
Career-defining moment: This one’s easy. After leading the Houston Rockets to the best regular season record in the NBA and going out tough in the Western Conference Finals, Harden took home the NBA’s Most Valuable Player trophy this year. Although it’s contested that he wasn’t the most valuable player in the league, his numbers certainly show otherwise. This year, Harden put up 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game.
Where is he now? Well, as mentioned above, Harden is living his best life right now after taking home the MVP trophy. I’d imagine, too, he’s doing his best in trying to recruit players to play for the Rockets this year.
2008-09 Consensus All-American
2008-09 Pac-10 Conferenece Player of the Year
Wooden Award Finalist (2008-09)
Scored 704 points in 2008-09 (1st in Pac-10 Conference)
#13 Jersey Retired
Drafted 3rd Overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder
Six-time NBA All-Star
2011-12 Sixth Man of the Year
4-time All NBA (3rd-Team 2012-13, 1st-team 2013-14, 2014-15, 2016-17)
2016-17 NBA Assists Leader
2017-18 NBA Scoring Champion
NBA MVP (2018)
No. 4 Andre Ethier
Career-defining moment: Getting traded from the Athletics to the Dodgers. In return for Ethier, LA gave up Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez. With LA, Ethier hit .285, including a 30-game hit streak in 2011, one base knock shy of the franchise record. He also made the playoffs in seven of his 12 years with the Dodgers. If it weren’t for the trade, Ethier may not have won a Silver Slugger Award in 2009 or Gold Glove Award in 2011.
Where is he now? In November 2017, the Dodgers thanked Ethier for his service and bought out his contract at the end of the season. It marked the end of an era for some fans, as he was one of the few mainstays on that Dodgers’ roster in the mid-to-late 2000s.
.371 Batting Average
14 home runs
.285 career hitter
641 runs scored
162 home runs