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Can James Harden really score 40 points per game this season?

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Westbrook, Harden combine for 52 points in loss (2:24)

James Harden drops 27 points while Russell Westbrook adds 25 points of his own, but the Rockets fall to the Nuggets 105-95. (2:24)

Will James Harden join Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to average 40 points per game?

Through the first 15 games of the 2019-20 season, Harden's average of 38.40 PPG would be the third-highest ever, narrowly surpassing Chamberlain's 38.39 PPG in 1960-61. The following two seasons, Chamberlain surpassed the 40 PPG barrier, including a record 50.4 PPG in 1961-62. Since then, Michael Jordan's 37.1 PPG in 1986-87 is the most on record, with Harden's own 2018-19 output (36.1 PPG) ranking second in the past five decades.

Is it realistic for Harden to hit 40 PPG? And, failing that, what are his chances of surpassing Jordan for the greatest modern scoring output? Let's take a look.