After last fall’s shocking trade between Oklahoma City and Houston, James Harden was finally given a full year as a starter to show people what he could do. He averaged 25.9 PPG and led the Rockets to the playoffs while the league’s general managers rated him the top shooting guard in the league for the first time in their survey’s history. But a recent video and gifs from last night’s game, show Harden hardly trying on defense.
Our first introduction to Harden’s slovenly defense comes courtesy of @j_069, who is a must-follow if you enjoy geeking out about offensive and defensive sets. Seriously, go follow him. A compilation video @j_069 made shows Harden when his Rockets took on the Clippers’ offensive juggernaut earlier this week. As you can tell from the minute plus video, Harden’s inattention to the man he’s matched up against is a large reason why the Rockets gave up 126 points to suffer their first loss of the season.
A recent post on the reddit/r/NBA hivemind provides evidence that Harden isn’t actually faring that poorly against opposing shooting guards, but the video evidence is pretty stunning. The next time you take in a Rockets game, keep an eye on Harden’s defense while you enjoy his obvious offensive exploits.
Is Harden as bad a defender as these videos seem to show?
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