Oh, the irony of someone doing a study on James Harden and how his fondness for Canadian ballet (aka strip clubs) affects his performance. For all the talk of his Houston Rockets and their general manager Daryl Morey leading the analytics revolution in the league, this is the first time we're hearing about such a thing.
Sure, the Beard may have a record as a consistent Most Valuable Player contender in recent years, even clinching the honors last year. But following the Rockets' 129-100 loss to Miami last week, where Harden led the team in scoring with 29 but on 6-of-14 shooting, Reddit user AngryCentrist decided to correlate how well he plays and the average rating of strip clubs in every NBA city.
They analyzed four seasons worth of data from Basketball-Reference.com and cross-referenced it with Google review grades of the Top 10 "[CITY] Strip Clubs" in an impressive methodology that entailed "like 30 searches for strip clubs on my work CPU."
AngryCentrist then wrote, "I have proven, to a statistically significant degree, that James Harden's game performance declines in cities with higher rated strip clubs."
Among the more notable findings in the research is that Harden indeed plays poorly in Miami, (4.03 city strip club rating, highest) while his best games happened in Toronto (2.97 city strip club rating, lowest). They also found it hilarious that Salt Lake City in Utah has the third-ranked strip clubs of all NBA cities.
Pro tip: Russell Westbrook must not find out about this. Now we wonder how Michael Jordan did in the arenas that are close to casinos, and JR Smith in the states where weed is legal...
Check out the rest of AngryCentrist's work here.