Making fun of James Harden’s defense is one of America’s favorite pastimes. There’s a mountain of damning and hilarious video evidence showcasing the Beard’s less than enthusiastic efforts on the opposite end of the court, which subsequently earned him the dubious distinction as the 2016 Shaqtin-a-Fool MVP. But it’s possible that we’ve exaggerated this whole thing for the sake of a few laughs. It’s also possible that Harden isn’t the only superstar who struggles on defense.
That’s what Jason Terry thinks, anyway. On his Sirius XM radio program, “The Runway,” Jet jumped to his teammate’s…ahem…defense, then took aim at one particularly high-profile player who has recently come under fire for his perceived deficiencies at guarding opposing players. Via Matt Hammond of CBS Houston:
“I can show you as many James Harden clips of a guy going back door on him as I can show you Steph Curry clips where he quits on a play or a guy just blows right by him.”
Indeed, there’s a growing perception of the two-time MVP as a subpar defender. Russell Westbrook couldn’t help but laugh when asked about it during a press conference, and more recently, the Cavs have taken full advantage of it in the last couple of games as he’s not only gotten torched by Kyrie Irving on several occasions but also been consistently forced to switch over to guarding LeBron James in the pick-n-roll (not that anyone can effectively guard LeBron James).
Regardless, you could probably put together montages for any number of NBA players, but it’s hard to imagine any of them being as side-splittingly funny as watching Harden disinterestedly allowing opponents to blow right past him. Fair or not, the snowball effect has been inexplicable, and nothing Terry or anyone else says will likely change that.