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View Poll Results: Can James Harden Win A Championship as the #1 Option?

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  • Yes

    14 66.67%
  • No

    7 33.33%
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  1. #1
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    Is James Harden Good Enough To Be the #1 Option On A Championship Team?

    We've seen Harden leading the way on the Rockets for the last 8 seasons. He's been paired with big men, an elite PG and psychopath yet still has never been able to make it to the finals. It begs the question. Is Harden good enough to be the #1 option on a winning team?

    My answer is obviously no.

    James Harden is an excellent scorer who knows how to draw contact and get to the line better than anyone in the league. Unfortunately he doesn't move without the ball in his hands, doesn't play defence and is one of the worst playmaking PG's in the league.

    In the other Harden thread I asked for someone to name a PG on a championship team over the last decade who had an AST:TO ratio lower than 2:1. I actually looked it up and found that there has only been 1 PG who fits that criteria and his name is Mario Chalmers. The funny thing is that he only did it in 1 of the Heat's championship seasons. The other season he barely got it above 2:1. If you look at all the other championship PGs from the last decade everyone of them has an AST:TO ratio far greater than 2:1 aside from Kyrie. His is still greater than 2:1 though. Kyrie, Steph, Lowry and LeBron are all far superior play makers than James Harden. Turnovers kill a team and the only way Harden was able to get his AST:TO ratio up to 2:1 in a single season was by teaming up with CP3. In that same season he still topped 30PPG. In other words, he needs to get the ball taken out of his hands so he doesn't turn it over as much.

    Here's the problem though. When the ball gets taken out of his hands he doesn't move around. He camps out at the 3pt line which in turn doesn't help any of his teammates get open. Each year he's been teamed up with CP3 or Russ he's taken more than 10 3pt shots a game with his career high coming in year 2 of CP3 (13.2 3PA a game). Yes he can light up a score board but he doesn't do anything to make anyone else on his team better. He plays for himself which is why I don't think he'll ever be a winner.

    We can look to Robert Covington as an example of how Harden doesn't help his teammates. Since 2018 he's played on 3 different teams. His FG% was between 42-44% on PHI and MIN while his 3P% was between 35-39%. Once he joined Harden's Rockets his FG% dropped to 39% while his 3P% dropped to 32%. He was also shooting more 3's with the Rockets than he had on any team in his career. I expect to see his %'s go back up in Portland this year.

    I truly believe that CP3 was the best teammate that Harden will ever get while he's the main option. He needs to be teamed up with a legitimate PG so he doesn't have to have the ball in his hands so much. After that, he needs to learn how to get his teammates open and hustle on the defensive end. People think that CP3 revived his career in OKC but that's not the case. He just didn't have to play with Harden anymore.
    Last edited by R. Johnson#3; 12-17-2020 at 03:32 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChongInc. View Post
    Facts can be hypothetical.

  2. #2
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    I voted yes. He just can't be the leader.

    You can be the best player and simultaneously not the leader. When he played with CP3, Harden was clearly the better overall player, but Paul was the better leader.

    I also have to make the coaches a scapegoat. He's played for some coaches with a history of not holding players accountable or having a disciplined system. Brooks, McHale and D'Antoni are notorious for letting players freelance and act like divas.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by beasted86 View Post
    I voted yes. He just can't be the leader.

    You can be the best player and simultaneously not the leader. When he played with CP3, Harden was clearly the better overall player, but Paul was the better leader.

    I also have to make the coaches a scapegoat. He's played for some coaches with a history of not holding players accountable or having a disciplined system. Brooks, McHale and D'Antoni are notorious for letting players freelance and act like divas.
    He needs a massive overhaul to his style of play if he ever wants to be the #1 option and I just don't see it ever happening. CP3 bolting after 2 years speaks volumes after spending 6 years on each of his previous teams. Granted he's now bouncing to young teams.

    Coaches need to hold players accountable but GM's also need to hold coaches accountable. Unfortunately neither seem to be possible in Houston. Morey gave Harden a coach who would accommodate his skill set for multiple years so that's not really on the coach. Look what's happening now that D'Antoni is gone. Harden won't even show up lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChongInc. View Post
    Facts can be hypothetical.

  4. #4
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    I don't remember Paul asking for a trade. It seemed to be Harden if anything that didn't like Paul and management also felt he was declining (not realizing it was the garbage offense they ran).

    I just don't think you'll ever get the best out of Harden in Houston's culture. I think under a coach like Spo, Carlisle, Nurse, those types can get him to his best. Maybe Pop at the beginning of Harden's career.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beasted86 View Post
    I don't remember Paul asking for a trade. It seemed to be Harden if anything that didn't like Paul and management also felt he was declining (not realizing it was the garbage offense they ran).

    I just don't think you'll ever get the best out of Harden in Houston's culture. I think under a coach like Spo, Carlisle, Nurse, those types can get him to his best. Maybe Pop at the beginning of Harden's career.
    I guess bolted was the wrong word to use. Not sure if he asked to be traded or not but we do know that he was traded only 2 years into a max after being 1 game away from the finals. That doesn't smell right.

    He's also said that he and Harden have no communication since the deal. With the way the league is today (players being all buddy buddy) that doesn't really sit well either. DeMar kept in touch with all his teammates after he was unceremoniously dealt off the team. Jonas Valanciunas even showed up to a Raps playoff game after he was dealt lol.

    I'd never want to see if Nurse could get through to him lol. Not worth the risk considering the foundation the Raps have built. I wouldn't deal Siakam for him straight up that's for sure.
    Last edited by R. Johnson#3; 12-14-2020 at 10:48 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChongInc. View Post
    Facts can be hypothetical.

  6. #6
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    Regular season, yes. Post-season, no. Preseason, maybe.
    Last edited by NBA all the way; 12-14-2020 at 01:00 PM.

  7. #7
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    No.

  8. #8
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    I think number 1 option is kind of the key word because you can argue it both ways. Like if he and giannis were to team up (they won't, but hypothetically they could), I assume you'd consider giannis the #1 option. Harden would be the guy on offense, but giannis is a better all around player. Depending who else they'd havr, giannis and harden could absolutely win a ring if the supporting cast is good enough.

    Or it depends on how realistic you want to be. Like theoretically, the heat decided to give up herro, picks and filler for harden. The heat definitely would have a chance. I'd consider harden the #1 on that team, but it wouldn't be by much. If that team could get another big on the buyout market, they'd really be formidable.

    Harden isn't lebron. LeBron has carried teams to the finals with garbage supporting casts. LeBron has shown he can win titles with 1 other really high level guy and the rest of the roster kind of being trashy. Harden isn't that good. But if you find the perfect compliment to Harden and the roster is all out talented, he could win. It's unlikely to happen, but it's possible for sure.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by crewfan13 View Post
    I think number 1 option is kind of the key word because you can argue it both ways. Like if he and giannis were to team up (they won't, but hypothetically they could), I assume you'd consider giannis the #1 option. Harden would be the guy on offense, but giannis is a better all around player. Depending who else they'd havr, giannis and harden could absolutely win a ring if the supporting cast is good enough.

    Or it depends on how realistic you want to be. Like theoretically, the heat decided to give up herro, picks and filler for harden. The heat definitely would have a chance. I'd consider harden the #1 on that team, but it wouldn't be by much. If that team could get another big on the buyout market, they'd really be formidable.

    Harden isn't lebron. LeBron has carried teams to the finals with garbage supporting casts. LeBron has shown he can win titles with 1 other really high level guy and the rest of the roster kind of being trashy. Harden isn't that good. But if you find the perfect compliment to Harden and the roster is all out talented, he could win. It's unlikely to happen, but it's possible for sure.
    I agree with this. I think people are LeBron/Duncan/Kobe/MJ standards of skill + leadership. Sometimes like Durant you need all the right chips in place to win. Again, Durant was clearly the #1 and best player on the Warriors, but not the leader.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by R. Johnson#3 View Post
    He needs a massive overhaul to his style of play if he ever wants to be the #1 option and I just don't see it ever happening. CP3 bolting after 2 years speaks volumes after spending 6 years on each of his previous teams. Granted he's now bouncing to young teams.

    Coaches need to hold players accountable but GM's also need to hold coaches accountable. Unfortunately neither seem to be possible in Houston. Morey gave Harden a coach who would accommodate his skill set for multiple years so that's not really on the coach. Look what's happening now that D'Antoni is gone. Harden won't even show up lol.
    You can be the number one option and not the leader. Davis is the Lakers first option offensively but Lebron is clearly the leader

    Also Paul didnt ask to be traded, Morey didnt even want to trade him, it was Tillman who pushed for that deal.

    In the 2018 playoffs they were looking pretty dam good vs the Warriors before Paul got injured. We'll never know what could have been. That was the Rockets best chance to reach the finals. Howard and Westbrook never really gave us a good chance. I dont know if those seasons should even count as i didnt view the team as a contender in those years. Not compared to the real contenders in the league at the time. I can honestly say our window was in the duration of time we had Paul in.
    Last edited by smith&wesson; 12-14-2020 at 04:26 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by R. Johnson#3 View Post
    I guess bolted was the wrong word to use. Not sure if he asked to be traded or not but we do know that he was traded only 2 years into a max after being 1 game away from the finals. That doesn't smell right.

    He's also said that he and Harden have no communication since the deal. With the way the league is today (players being all buddy buddy) that doesn't really sit well either. DeMar kept in touch with all his teammates after he was unceremoniously dealt off the team. Jonas Valanciunas even showed up to a Raps playoff game after he was dealt lol.

    I'd never want to see if Nurse could get through to him lol. Not worth the risk considering the foundation the Raps have built. I wouldn't deal Siakam for him straight up that's for sure.
    It doesnt smell right because Tillman is a piece of **** lol

  12. #12
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    I'm assuming you mean Championship winning team? Because otherwise the answer is an unequivocal yes.

    Dude has led Houston to the WCF twice, and the 2nd round a further 4 times.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by valade16 View Post
    I'm assuming you mean Championship winning team? Because otherwise the answer is an unequivocal yes.

    Dude has led Houston to the WCF twice, and the 2nd round a further 4 times.
    Who cares, it's irrelevant if it's never capitalized on.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smith&wesson View Post
    You can be the number one option and not the leader. Davis is the Lakers first option offensively but Lebron is clearly the leader

    Also Paul didnt ask to be traded, Morey didnt even want to trade him, it was Tillman who pushed for that deal.

    In the 2018 playoffs they were looking pretty dam good vs the Warriors before Paul got injured. We'll never know what could have been. That was the Rockets best chance to reach the finals. Howard and Westbrook never really gave us a good chance. I dont know if those seasons should even count as i didnt view the team as a contender in those years. Not compared to the real contenders in the league at the time. I can honestly say our window was in the duration of time we had Paul in.
    I wouldn't necessarily call Davis the 1st option. The ball is in LeBron's hands and he took more shots per game than AD last season. I'd say they're more like a 1A and 1B type of deal with LeBron being the 1A.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChongInc. View Post
    Facts can be hypothetical.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by valade16 View Post
    I'm assuming you mean Championship winning team? Because otherwise the answer is an unequivocal yes.

    Dude has led Houston to the WCF twice, and the 2nd round a further 4 times.
    Championship yes. I clarified in the poll question.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChongInc. View Post
    Facts can be hypothetical.

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