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Verbal Christ
02-10-2015, 01:44 PM
Awesome read on everyone's favorite player! Since you guys cant stop talking about James Harden this or James Harden that I thought this would be a nice piece for you to save to your favorites and bring up each time you start feeling some type of way.

Watch the throne and kiss the ring!

http://thelab.bleacherreport.com/watchthethrone/




Chapter 1. The Arrival




James Harden rests his weary bones on the side of the basket support. Heís just tossed up some 100 post-scrimmage threes to end a mid-November practice at the Rockets' downtown practice facility.

Beads of sweat drag-race down his forehead. His tattered Mohawk is at least two or three days overdue for a fresh lineup. He swigs an orange energy drink, then absentmindedly scratches that iconic beard that might be more famous than the guard itís attached to.

A gaggle of Rockets are cooling their heels on folding chairs behind the basket. High tops are scattered on the floor. One player chisels off ankle tape. Another attaches ice bags to his knees. Some are starters, others have been pressed into duty thanks to the pesky injury bug that has plagued these surprise Rockets since the season began.

They turn their attention to the star guard. They have that post-practice glow knowing the dayís work is done. Harden looks relaxed.

Defensive stalwart Patrick Beverley stands a foot away to his left, leaning over, hands on his knees. Harden leans forward a touch more. The incessant drone of bouncing basketballs and coaches' instructions echoing off the walls drown him out to onlookers.

But the scene is far less about Hardenís anecdote than his teammates' reaction to it. Their body language says everythingówe will follow you into battle, but a funny story will do for now.

"And then what did you do?" asks second-year point guard Isaiah Canaan with wide eyes.

Harden tilts his head slightly, shrugs his broad shoulders, then turns his palms skyward. He chuckles before swigging more orange potion.

"Nah, man, no way," says rookie forward Tarik Black.

Harden gets up. "Yeah, seriously," he says, those sleepy eyes coalescing with his nonchalance just so.

Laughter erupts from their small corner of the neighborhood. The players follow Harden across the practice floor and into the weight room.

This team is as safe a place as any for Harden, the once-reluctant leader, to continue his basketball evolution. His Rockets are unburdened by petty jealousy, anguished cries for more shots or complex agendas of egomaniacal future Hall of Famers.

They expect Harden to lead them. The mix of selfless teammates, a highly effective game plan and his restless earnestness provide the perfect crucible for Harden to evolve as an elite player and build the legacy he feels he deserves. "This just feels right," says Harden. "This is what I want."


Chapter 2. There's No Safety in Being 'The Man'

There was a certain comfort that came along with Hardenís stint in Oklahoma City. He was tucked behind two superstars on meteoric rises in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. There was safety in not being the man. There was a welcome relief in being just off-camera and out of the way of the burning spotlight. If the Thunder lost, it was never his fault. There were pleasures in not starting too. He even misses it.

"When my name was called and the crowd would cheer, it got me excited," he recalls one afternoon. "It was crazy. It was like The Enforcer was coming into the game. Here comes the game-changer. That got me excited to want to go out there and turn up every game."

But he also wanted what he has now in Houston. His selflessness couldnít mask his ambition. When the Thunder didnít offer him a max contract in October 2012, there was no going back. His trade to Houston shook the league. Now, he was the man. Itís a role that can be frightening, stressful and lonely, and it can potentially crash-land at any time. It ruins players. Tricks them. Many donít understand the responsibility.

If the Rockets lost, it would be his fault. So Harden stepped deeper into the abyss.

He told the world he could be the best player in the game. Even coming from one of the most talented players on the planet, such a claim sounds audacious if not delusional. When asked if that was just player-speakówhat heís expected to sayóHardenís tone sharpens. Heís making eye contact now.


"You know what? I really feel that way just because of my skill set and my IQ," says Harden.


"Obviously, LeBron [James] and KD [Kevin Durant] are the top of the game. Those guys are like 6'10" and physically God-gifted athleticallyóand are stronger than me. But I feel like I can rely on my IQ to reach that potential."

So far this season heís making good on such big talk. With over half of the season complete, heís leading the league in scoring at 27.5 points per game and averaging career highs in assists (6.8), rebounds (5.6), steals (2.0), blocks (0.8) and free-throw percentage (.876).

Simply put, Harden is as gifted an offensive talent as exists in the game.

Unteachably smooth and deceptively athleticóthe rare player who can crush a dunk with two hands after a momentum-robbing Eurostepóhis catalog of posters is as voluminous as his casually silky step-back threes.

His crossover in space has an undercurrent of violenceóa jarring change of direction that makes him among the leagueís best at the most valued basketball survival skill: creating space.

His game is loaded with mystifying deception. His upright, relaxed body language disguises the explosion of his first step.

The ferocity of his tomahawk jams feels wildly incongruent with his bare minimum elevation, which regularly surprises defenders. Itís downright confusing.


"I play slow and Iím left-handed," Harden offers. "Itís hard to figure out."

Pera credits his unique game to his early lack of athleticism and doughy physique as a high school underclassman.

"He learned to play on the ground," says Pera. "He started with the fundamentalsóshot fakes, passing, taking charges."

But his greatest asset remains his mind, an algorithm-processing basketball computer. He can sort through loads of information in the seconds a change of possession occurs.

He finds angles where none exist. He detects passing lanes that are otherwise obscured by limbs and lack of imagination. He turns mismatches into unfair opportunities.

"Heís one of the smartest basketball players Iíve ever worked with," says Mike Krzyzewski, Hardenís Team USA head coach.

When asked what is Hardenís best athletic quality, Herb Sendek, his coach at Arizona State, responds,"His mind. He has the intuition and the willingness to make the right play."

Chapter 3. Turning Point

Hardenís quest for greatness has been a decade-long percolation. The seed had long been planted in fertile ground. But it began to grow in an unlikely place: a hotbox Los Angeles gym in August during the 2011 NBA lockout. Harden showed up to play in the vaunted Drew League just as he had many times before.

Then Kobe Bryant showed up to play for the other team.

Bryant and Harden proceeded to turn the game into a full-court one-on-one showcase, trading crossovers, fadeaways and trash talk. Hardenís confidence rose with each possession, as did Bryantís admiration. He finished with 44 points. Bryant had 45 and the game-winner.

"That was one of the turning points of my career at that age," says Harden, who grew up in the shadow of Bryantís dominant Lakers teams. "Being in that game meant everything for me. It boosted me and gave me confidence. It definitely turned my swag up."

Harden secretly felt he could match Bryantís skill level, but humility barred him from expounding beyond schoolyard smack between the lines. Hell, he wasnít even a starter. But Bryant knew.

"That was cool for him," says Bryant, reflecting on that encounter after a practice. "There was something in his eyes you could just see. He was ready."

Chapter 4. "I'm a Great Defender"



Today, Harden knows that fully winning people over means getting it done on the defensive side of the ball...and, yes, he knows you make fun of his defense.

He hears everything. The wisecracks on Twitter or in the YouTube comments section. The snide quips from bombastic talking heads. Heís seen the comical GIFs where he loses his man by absurd distances. The "worst defender ever" compilations.

Harden has tried to block out the chatter and vowed to turn himself into a legit defensive stopper. But sometimes the barbs are a thorn in his mind. And heís a bit tired of it.

"I'm a great defender," Harden says with a hint of defiance. "But it's really about being able to focus on carrying a team, scoring 30, while locking somebody down. I've done a pretty good job of that this year. I'm definitely not worried about critics. I think everybody goes through stretches where they ball watch or let somebody cut behind them or just small things like that. But if the ball is in front of me, I'm great. It comes down to focus level and knowing where my guy is."

Harden knows the jokes will follow him nonetheless, so he put his self-deprecating sense of humor to work and lampooned his less-than-stellar defensive rep in a recent Foot Locker commercial. The spot, titled "Defensive," was shot over a couple of hours at a local Houston mall on the last Sunday in October.

In the commercial, Harden has an awkward exchange with two sneakerheads who wonder why he sounds so defensive when asked if heíll attend an upcoming sneaker sale.

"Defensive?" he asks. "Iím never defensive. Iím the last person youíll ever see being defensive." The spot cleverly robs his critics of their power.

"My defense was the talk of the summer," says Harden, "so we decided to hit it head on."

The Foot Locker creative team pitched him the idea over FaceTime, and he embraced it immediately. He got the script three weeks prior to shooting and even ad-libbed some alternate lines on set.

"Heís not afraid to make fun of himself," says Foot Lockerís marketing vice president Jed Berger. "His deadpan is incredible. Itís just his personality. We like to be relevant, and we did that in a fun way."

Yes, Harden is in on the joke. But opponents arenít laughing about the strides heís made this season on the defensive end.

Harden (42.1 DFG%) currently holding opponents to a lower field-goal percentage than defensive ace and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard (44.3 DFG%). Harden is sixth in the league in defensive win shares with 2.9. During the 11 games Dwight Howard missed, he averaged 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks. Heís fourth in the league in steals.



A few months ago, a YouTube user put together a 10-minute clip showing some of the outstanding defensive plays Harden has made this season. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted it out with the following proclamation: "16-4 & top defense w/majority of our starters out does not happen by accident. I present 2-way player & MVP @JHard13."


"He can be a great defender, and I think weíre seeing that," says Coach K. "Heís got really good anticipation and he talks, which is the lifeblood of team defense. There isnít anything I asked of him that he couldnít do."

Ramping up his impact in the leadership department has been Hardenís other big focus. Last summer, during the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Krzyzewski appointed Harden one of his captains, leaning on him all summer for input. Heíd give Coach K daily updates on the teamís overall mood, whether they should practice and their fears after Paul Georgeís devastating injury.

"Iíd always check the pulse of the team through James," says Krzyzewski. It was an invaluable experience for Hardenís evolution into the leader of a contender. In practices, Harden is consistently the most vocal Rocket but admits heís still getting a handle on the leadership role.

After a November win against the Mavericks, Harden stunned the crowd when he ran over to the scorer's table and grabbed the public address microphone. "We need your support! We need you!" Harden implored fans with a desperate sense of urgency. "We need it! We need it!"

As Harden raced off the floor, the packed house rose to give him a standing ovation.

Chapter 5. From Compton to the NBA

In August 2003, the boy whose name no one knew walked into sixth-period gym at Artesia High School in Lakewood, California, eight miles from his Compton neighborhood. His mother sent him there, not Dominguez High, which produced NBA champions Tyson Chandler and Tayshaun Prince, because it was safer and had a more rigid curriculum.


The 6'1", doe-eyed, pudgy kid was shy around strangers. He planned to go out for basketball in the fall. When his High School Coach Scott Pera, who was also the physical education teacher, saw him hoist his slow-motion set shot with the other freshman, he didnít see anything special.

"He wasnít James Harden then," remembers Pera. "He wasnít that great. He was just another kid. By no means did we think we had an NBA player on our hands."

As his skill level progressed, he developed a do-it-all deferential style of play that made him the star of a 28-5 team his sophomore season. His first real learning experience came in January of his junior year when Artesia lost its first gameóan overtime thriller by one point to Withrow University High (of Cincinnati, Ohio, in the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament in Delaware).

A reluctant Harden struggled through an eight-shot performance lacking any aggression. As Harden stewed over the loss on the plane ride home, Pera unbuckled his seat belt, went several rows back and sat next to Harden. His message was clear: shoot more.

"In 24 years of coaching, Iíve never had to tell a kid to shoot more," says Pera. "Had to tell a lot of kids to shoot less."

Harden balked for fear it would draw the ire of his teammates. But Peraís demand was final. Harden averaged 29 points per game the rest of the way, and Artesia never lost again that year. In his final two seasons, he led the powerhouse to a 66-3 record and two California state titles.

He arrived at Arizona State a McDonaldís All-American but very much a work-in-progress. "You wouldnít call him fat, but he had a high body-fat index when we got him," says his ASU coach Herb Sendek.

Still reluctant to take the spotlight, heíd go through practices without shooting because he didnít want his teammates to think he was selfish. Soon opposing defenses would go to great lengths to aid his desire not to shoot.

In a February 2009 matchup with Oregon State, the Beavers' game plan was to aggressively trap Harden whenever he had the ball regardless of where he was on the floor. "He could have been at the concession stand and they would have had two guys on him," recalls Sendek, laughing.

Harden managed just three shots, but the Sun Devils won. After the game, Sendek says he began to learn about just who James Harden was. "He was as happy as can be," he remembers. "There was no difference in his disposition in the night he went for 40 against UTEP because we won."

It was a story that Sendek relayed to Thunder general manager Sam Presti, who thought Hardenís phlegmatic temperament would fit perfectly next to Durant and Westbrook. Despite a strong predraft showing, Harden received mixed signals from many lottery teams. A last-minute midnight workout with Minnesota the night before the draft only served to confuse things.

Pera skipped his fifth wedding anniversary to fly to New York to be with James and his mother in the green room the night of the NBA draft. There was nervous tension at the table, and few words were spoken.

"I was more nervous than on my wedding night," says Pera. His mom cried when the Thunder took him with the third pick. The quiet kidís face never changed.


Chapter 6. Who is James Harden?

Outside of the Foot Locker campaign, Hardenís dry wit and sense of humor are almost never on display for the public. He rarely gives one-on-one interviews. He speaks in soft tones, only occasionally making eye contact. He is unfailingly polite.

He keeps his inner circle purposefully small. The closest people in his life have known him since he was a teenager. Harden has developed and maintained a strong connection with the men who have coached him on each level of basketball. He exchanges occasional texts with Coach K, who watches as many Rockets games as he can on League Pass.

"We keep in touch, but I never want to be intrusive," Coach K says, "but we have a great relationship."

Pera, his former high school coach, has texted "good luck" to Harden before every pro game heís ever played. After taking an assistant coach position at nearby Rice University this season, the two have lunch about once a month.

On a recent Sunday, Harden dropped by Peraís house for barbecue and to watch his beloved 49ers. Harden spends most of his downtime playing FIFA 15 (he uses Real Madrid) with his housemate and former Artesia High teammate Greg Howell, who coaches eighth grade basketball in Houston. Sometimes theyíll head to Toyota Center for late-night shooting sessions.

While his beard has become arguably the most identifying physical feature of any American pro athlete, he doesnít want to be defined by it. Nor is he hiding behind it. "This is really who I am," Harden insists.

"But a lot of people may see me and not know my name but know the beard. It's kind of my style, my swag. It's me being different, which I am. But I don't go out of my way to be different. I'm a fun guy. I've got a Mohawk with a beard and I dress funky and I'm left-handed, but it's just the package."

But it remains the first thing people see. And, oh, there are questions. Before you ask: It doesnít itch as much as people think. He gets it trimmed with each haircut, about every two weeks. When he wakes up itís usually mashed to one side. One of his picks cures that easily. It can sometimes be a magnet for food. People tell him to cut it every day, mostly in other cities. His mom adores it.

"She raised me," says Harden. "So she loves everything about me."

There is little doubt Hardenís popularity would pale in comparison without it. "Heís much more than the beard," says Berger, the Foot Locker exec, "but obviously itís helped shape his identity to the public."

He was clean-shaven at ASU, but Sendek doesnít remember what he looked like. Pera fondly remembers the days of peach fuzz, baggy sweats, triple-XL white T-shirts, ninth-grade English and the quiet kid who needed rides all over town.

"Heís a grown man," he says, "but I still worry about him. I worry about him every day."

Chapter 7. Show-N-Prove

Harden hoists one jumper after another at a recent shootaround the morning before a game at Toyota Center. He is the last player on the floor. His eyes are intense, his release crisp. An assistant coach will stop feeding him only when he says so. The nets pop. He grunts when the ball touches rim. The squeak of his sneakers pierces the air.

The echo of the basketball off the hardwood is the soundtrack to his life.

"LeBron and KD are at the peak right now," he says. "They are the guys. I know what I want, but I have to win over a lot of people. I've got my work cut out for me." There are no awards for being an MVP candidate in mid-December.

There is no comfort in being the man. He asked for this. For James Harden, there is no turning back.

jaydubb
02-10-2015, 01:49 PM
I don't like james harden.. Good read tho

Chronz
02-10-2015, 02:13 PM
He really does need to trim that bear at least alil

Goose17
02-10-2015, 02:18 PM
Awesome read on everyone's favorite player! Since you guys cant stop talking about James Harden this or James Harden that I thought this would be a nice piece for you to save to your favorites and bring up each time you start feeling some type of way.

Watch the throne and kiss the ring!


1. I think you convince yourself everyone hates Harden, you build him up in your mind as some renegade cowboy who is giving a middle finger to the world and doesn't care about people hating him. Fact is, very few people on here hate him. Most people don't mind him, a lot like him.

2. I don't care what the context is (article title etc), you can't reference "the ring" unless you have a chip. Harden doesn't.

3. I like that the writer refers to Houston players as a "gaggle". ;)

mightybosstone
02-10-2015, 02:21 PM
This is going to go well... Thanks for fueling the flame, VC. :facepalm:

Tony_Starks
02-10-2015, 02:24 PM
A Harden thread praising him.....made by a Harden fan.....because everybody hates Harden even though nobody was thinking about him.......on a Tuesday!

Tony_Starks
02-10-2015, 02:25 PM
He really does need to trim that bear at least alil

Can't do it, its a clever disguise to hide his Yukmouth grill....

Goose17
02-10-2015, 02:29 PM
A Harden thread praising him.....made by a Harden fan.....because everybody hates Harden even though nobody was thinking about him.......on a Tuesday!

:clap:

archdevil84
02-10-2015, 02:53 PM
god i hate james harden so much. no matter if he plays the best defensive the league has ever seen and scores 100 points a night i wil stil hate him. i wil hate him forever. i hope he never wins a championship or MVP or any other award. i hope one day everyone wil finally realize he's just a **** trash talking arrogant piece of ****

nastynice
02-10-2015, 02:56 PM
A Harden thread praising him.....made by a Harden fan.....because everybody hates Harden even though nobody was thinking about him.......on a Tuesday!

lol

mightybosstone
02-10-2015, 02:56 PM
What upsets me is that this is a really good article that taught me a lot about the man and might win over a few haters if they took the chance to read it. But OP went out of his way to instigate **** when there was no need to. If you want people to take your team and your team's best player seriously, don't be arrogant and start an argument when one isn't needed.

If this had just been presented as "Hey, here's a great article on Harden for those interested in learning more about the guy," posters might have read it. But no one is going to take the time to read it if you shove it in their faces like an arrogant dick.

nastynice
02-10-2015, 02:59 PM
He really does need to trim that bear at least alil

o HELL NO!

Look, clearly Nikola Mirotic has the best beard in the league. The volume and depth, plus the fact that it IS technically a neck beard, its just something the nba has never seen before. But after that, Harden is CLEARLY a top 5 beard, and arguably number 2.

nastynice
02-10-2015, 03:01 PM
What upsets me is that this is a really good article that taught me a lot about the man and might win over a few haters if they took the chance to read it. But OP went out of his way to instigate **** when there was no need to. If you want people to take your team and your team's best player seriously, don't be arrogant and start an argument when one isn't needed.

If this had just been presented as "Hey, here's a great article on Harden for those interested in learning more about the guy," posters might have read it. But no one is going to take the time to read it if you shove it in their faces like an arrogant dick.

Don't worry bro, Harden's a beast. Period.

People might say he may not fit this particular role or that particular role very well, and Rox fans get a lil defensive sometimes which kinda eggs it on, but at the end of the day, noone NOONE who understands basketball will say Harden is not a flat out beast or legit mvp candidate.

*and I kinda gained a lil more respect for him after reading about the kobe game. that's pretty cool

mightybosstone
02-10-2015, 03:03 PM
god i hate james harden so much. no matter if he plays the best defensive the league has ever seen and scores 100 points a night i wil stil hate him. i wil hate him forever. i hope he never wins a championship or MVP or any other award. i hope one day everyone wil finally realize he's just a **** trash talking arrogant piece of ****

Why? I seriously want to know what would make you loathe a person so much that you've never met and has never done anything off the court to warrant the kind of hate you're expressing. I just don't get why fans loathe athletes so much over nothing.

I dislike Kobe Bryant because he's damn good, he's beaten the Rockets a ton and won more titles than I would've liked and maybe a little because of his demeanor. But I don't hate the man. I have no reason to. If the rape charges had been legitimate, maybe I could justify hating him over that, but that went pretty much nowhere. I don't dislike Kobe really any more than I dislike Duncan or Dirk or Durant. And I give all those guys the respect they deserve for their level of play over the years. They're just really good players that are rivals of my favorite team, and I see no reason to take it any further than that. Why do you feel the need to?

Tony_Starks
02-10-2015, 03:24 PM
god i hate james harden so much. no matter if he plays the best defensive the league has ever seen and scores 100 points a night i wil stil hate him. i wil hate him forever. i hope he never wins a championship or MVP or any other award. i hope one day everyone wil finally realize he's just a **** trash talking arrogant piece of ****

Why? I seriously want to know what would make you loathe a person so much that you've never met and has never done anything off the court to warrant the kind of hate you're expressing. I just don't get why fans loathe athletes so much over nothing.

I dislike Kobe Bryant because he's damn good, he's beaten the Rockets a ton and won more titles than I would've liked and maybe a little because of his demeanor. But I don't hate the man. I have no reason to. If the rape charges had been legitimate, maybe I could justify hating him over that, but that went pretty much nowhere. I don't dislike Kobe really any more than I dislike Duncan or Dirk or Durant. And I give all those guys the respect they deserve for their level of play over the years. They're just really good players that are rivals of my favorite team, and I see no reason to take it any further than that. Why do you feel the need to?

Sarcasm bro. It was a really easy catch, don't be so sensitive....

mightybosstone
02-10-2015, 03:34 PM
Sarcasm bro. It was a really easy catch, don't be so sensitive....

On this site I don't take any Harden or Rockets hatred as sarcasm. I've seen people say and mean some truly ridiculous things. And not knowing that poster particularly well and given the nature of the thread, I took it literally.

PurpleLynch
02-10-2015, 04:08 PM
The article was good. Your pathetic attempt to stir a classic PSD's war was bad.

Tony_Starks
02-10-2015, 04:11 PM
Sarcasm bro. It was a really easy catch, don't be so sensitive....

On this site I don't take any Harden or Rockets hatred as sarcasm. I've seen people say and mean some truly ridiculous things. And not knowing that poster particularly well and given the nature of the thread, I took it literally.

I feel you but when you look at how extreme he went with it you can see it was tongue in cheek making fun of the "everybody hates Harden" tone set by the OP....

flea
02-10-2015, 04:29 PM
To stoke the flames, I will say Harden is probably my least favorite high-volume wing scorer of this generation to watch. His major asset is collecting the patented NBA "star call," though, which is a huge gripe I have with how the league is officiated.

FWIW I hated Ginobili for most of his prime as well, though I think Ginobili was a better finisher in traffic than Harden is. But still, Ginobili only had 2 seasons that even approach what Harden gets every year. Carter and McGrady? Not even in the same stratosphere.

Harden has a 10% higher FT rate for his career than Lebron and Durant (both of whom are in prime and get very questionable calls, yet sit at about 43%). For the first 5 years of Jordan's career he had a .436 FT rate, but after that he never cracked 40% again for the rest of his career. Westbrook is under 40% for his career.

Harden though? Never been below 50% after his rookie year, and sits at 54% for his career. His offensive style is nothing but chucking 3s, which is he is good but not great at (and streaky) and running directly into defenders and throwing his arms into the air. He has a pitiful midrange game (he's worse there than he is from 3), and while he's athletic he is nothing particularly special.

That's why people dislike watching him - he's everything that's wrong with the NBA from a fan's standpoint. His style of play completely halts the flow of the game, which is why many people like the NBA to begin with is its pace, it's extraordinarily selfish on the offensive end and complete dog **** on the defensive end. Talk to any older basketball fans, guys who watched the NBA in the 60s and 70s, and a lot of them switched to college fandom only or nothing because of these reasons: no defense, poor ball movement, guarded chucked shots, and 25 replays of dunks per game.

mightybosstone
02-10-2015, 05:00 PM
To stoke the flames, I will say Harden is probably my least favorite high-volume wing scorer of this generation to watch. His major asset is collecting the patented NBA "star call," though, which is a huge gripe I have with how the league is officiated.
No. His best asset is his ability to drive to the basket and the unusual nature of his ball handling on the way to the rim, which makes him difficult to guard (the article explains this better than I could). If he happens to get calls, then great. But you're acting as if the vast majority of his points come from flops, which couldn't be further from the truth.


FWIW I hated Ginobili for most of his prime as well, though I think Ginobili was a better finisher in traffic than Harden is. But still, Ginobili only had 2 seasons that even approach what Harden gets every year. Carter and McGrady? Not even in the same stratosphere.
Is Harden a poor finisher around the rim? More than 30% of his FGA throughout his career have come around the rim and he's made about 63% of those shots. Ginobili's career numbers are nearly identical to Harden's, in fact.


Harden has a 10% higher FT rate for his career than Lebron and Durant (both of whom are in prime and get very questionable calls, yet sit at about 43%). For the first 5 years of Jordan's career he had a .436 FT rate, but after that he never cracked 40% again for the rest of his career. Westbrook is under 40% for his career.

Harden though? Never been below 50% after his rookie year, and sits at 54% for his career. His offensive style is nothing but chucking 3s, which is he is good but not great at (and streaky) and running directly into defenders and throwing his arms into the air.
This is a stat that confused me. What do you mean by "free throw rate?" You're throwing that stat around like it's common knowledge, but I don't believe I've ever heard it in my life. The only thing I can think of, unless this is some advanced stat, is that it's free throw attempts divided by field goal attempts? And if that's the statistic you're using to determine his worth, that doesn't exactly seem fair. For one, if we could measure the number of times he drives to the rim compared with other players, I would imagine he attacks the basket more than any player in the league.


He has a pitiful midrange game (he's worse there than he is from 3), and while he's athletic he is nothing particularly special.
He's a pretty damn good 3-point shooter. I don't feel like you're doing him justice there. His 38.9% shooting from beyond the arc this season is well, well above league average. And he's not a good mid-range shooter, but I kind of feel like that's just because he doesn't shoot many shots there. It's the worst shot in basketball, and Morey specifically requests guys to play a certain style, which is why the Rockets shoot the most 3s in the league in the fewest mid-range jumpers every season.


That's why people dislike watching him - he's everything that's wrong with the NBA from a fan's standpoint. His style of play completely halts the flow of the game, which is why many people like the NBA to begin with is its pace, it's extraordinarily selfish on the offensive end and complete dog **** on the defensive end. Talk to any older basketball fans, guys who watched the NBA in the 60s and 70s, and a lot of them switched to college fandom only or nothing because of these reasons: no defense, poor ball movement, guarded chucked shots, and 25 replays of dunks per game.
I feel like the people who criticize him as if all he does is flops don't watch him play basketball. For every game like he had the other night against Portland where he gets a ton of free throws, there's a game where he gets 25-30 points with only a handful of free throws. The man is a remarkable scorer and playmaker. And the "poor ball movement" and "guarded chucked shots" comments are beyond idiotic. He's as talented a playmaking wing as there is in the NBA and he doesn't take any more contested jumpers than any other star. If anything, he probably takes a lot fewer.

lol, please
02-10-2015, 06:49 PM
A Harden thread praising him.....made by a Harden fan.....because everybody hates Harden even though nobody was thinking about him.......on a Tuesday!
I lol'd

Avenged
02-10-2015, 07:45 PM
A Harden thread praising him.....made by a Harden fan.....because everybody hates Harden even though nobody was thinking about him.......on a Tuesday!


^^^^^^

PurpleLynch
02-10-2015, 07:55 PM
a harden thread praising him.....made by a harden fan.....because everybody hates harden even though nobody was thinking about him.......on a tuesday!

ahahah

IndyRealist
02-10-2015, 08:15 PM
Why is this thread not closed? There's no discussion on the article and very little discussion on Harden, which could be had on another less combative thread.

JJ_JKidd
02-11-2015, 12:06 AM
Feel bad for Lebron and KD. Theyre not the talk of the town anymore.

FlashBolt
02-11-2015, 12:15 AM
Feel bad for Lebron and KD. Theyre not the talk of the town anymore.

They are still better than Harden. Don't get me wrong, he's the MVP but he's not the best player.

JJ_JKidd
02-11-2015, 12:34 AM
They are still better than Harden. Don't get me wrong, he's the MVP but he's not the best player.

Im confused. How does one win MVP and not be considered as the best player? Is it because Harden's team will suffer the most when he is not playing?

lol, please
02-11-2015, 01:30 AM
Im confused. How does one win MVP and not be considered as the best player? Is it because Harden's team will suffer the most when he is not playing?
Because mvp means most valuable within a certain context, that doesn't equal best from a pure talent perspective. You can be the best player and not contribute accordingly.

nastynice
02-11-2015, 02:02 AM
Im confused. How does one win MVP and not be considered as the best player? Is it because Harden's team will suffer the most when he is not playing?

well, when saying best player, I think most people take into account more than just that particular year. Lebron and KD have proven themselves for a while now, still reasonable to expect during crunch time and playoff time they will play at their best and add that to what they've already proven, those two are consensus one and two in the league right now. MVP is strictly this year, not taking any past into account, and team record also plays some role in it (for example Anthony Davis is completely beasting this year, if his team were a top 4 seed, he'd be in the convo right there with Curry and Harden for mvp).

Curry and Harden haven't nearly proved themselves to the same degree as KD and James have over the past few years. Plus what Curry and Harden are doing right now is still inferior to what KD and James have been doing when at their peak

Bruno
02-11-2015, 04:56 AM
James Harden is great.

eso
02-11-2015, 06:04 AM
Can't do it, its a clever disguise to hide his Yukmouth grill....

I miss the Luniz

Goose17
02-11-2015, 02:17 PM
He has a pitiful midrange game (he's worse there than he is from 3), and while he's athletic he is nothing particularly special.


I don't find Hardens game appealing in the slightest, but that's me. One thing I will say, streaky or not. Anyone that shoots above 35/36% from deep must have a decent shot.

Verbal Christ
02-11-2015, 02:32 PM
http://gifrific.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Mr-Burns-Saying-Excellent.gif

nastynice
02-11-2015, 02:42 PM
I don't find Hardens game appealing in the slightest, but that's me. One thing I will say, streaky or not. Anyone that shoots above 35/36% from deep must have a decent shot.

that eurostep tho...

lol, please
02-11-2015, 09:14 PM
that eurostep tho...
Lulz