James Harden faced a lot of criticism around the NBA for the way he forced a trade out of the Houston Rockets. But, to be fair, we also have to admit that he's playing the best basketball of his career since joining the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden is leading the Nets to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. More impressively, he's done it without Kevin Durant for most of the sesason, and a couple of times without Kyrie Irving as well.

That's why Charles Barkley believes that he should be the frontrunner to win the MVP award, and he went as far as to say that he's a better scorer than legendary ballers such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Charles Barkley Says James Harden Is The Best Player In The World And A Better Scorer Than Michael Jordan And Kobe Bryant

(Transcript via Fadeaway World)

"This guy might be the best basketball player in the world… I’ve always thought he was the best offensive player. He wasn’t as great as Michael and Kobe but I said a few years ago, and people laughed at me: he’s the best offensive player I’ve ever seen. But right now… no disrespect to LeBron, or Giannis or anybody. James Harden might be the best basketball player in the world, period.

For them to win games without KD and without Kyrie, you gotta give that man some credit. He is the most awesome offensive player I’ve ever seen. Listen, Michael and Kobe were better players from the guard standpoint. But as far as offensively, they couldn’t shoot threes like him. They were not as great at dribbling the basketball, going to the basket and getting fouled… We gotta give that guy some credit man, he is an offensive machine, plain and simple".

While Barkley's take could be taken out of context he does have a valid point. Offensive-wise and scoring-wise, perhaps Harden is in a superior tier than the rest of the players we've seen in NBA history.

Then again, he still needs to prove himself when it matters the most to sit on the same table as other legends. So, hopefully, this season he'll finally prove Barkley's point and step up in the playoffs.