The whole NBA has been debating for some time on various ways you can defend the most unstoppable offensive player in the game today, James Harden.
And now we can see the Utah Jazz trying a unique way of opening the whole right side to him and standing basically almost behind him, trying to neutralize his step back.
The Bucks tried this a few weeks ago and succeed, but it seems the Jazz don’t have the right players to pull this off, as Harden was having a festivity of layups and lobs.
Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas shared his thoughts on this defensive method on Instagram:
“Dumb as f**k…. You giving a guy who leads the NBA in free throws made and taken a walk to the basket. What’s even dumber… he’s left-handed so that means his step-back that no one can stop… is going right. If you wanna minimize his game, push him to his left which is his strength. Dribbling with your strong and pulling up is not natural. That will take away his step back, it takes away his pull-up, so he has to drive all the way, which u can load up. From that standpoint, he will euro, left/right getting to the middle. Or he will do a running floater off going left which is also unnatural. Defenders… pushing a player to his weak hand is actually his strong hand for pull-ups/hizzy’s/crossovers and step-backs. His strong hand is his get to the basket hand. So in reality, if he can shoot the ball, you giving that player more options. If he can’t shoot then pushing him to his weak hand is a great thing. Knowing he can’t pull-up too, you’re less likely to go for any fake.”
“Camping on his left side is his shooting side. He can’t shoot going to his left. It’s harder. Going right, all he has to do is step back. That’s why he gets so many 4 point plays. Most of the time he gets blocked he’s going left trying to step-back because now he has to turn his body back towards the rim. So if you want him to get tired, force him left because he can’t stop so he will just drive and drive and drive. He’s a lefty, so his shooting side is going right. A right-handed player’s shooting side is going left. You can fade better. Right-handed players go right, and if you stop them they don’t pull up. They do the D-Wade snatch-back because that’s the only counter move that’s comfortable. There’s only one player in the NBA that is right-handed that can shoot going right better than left and that’s JJ Reddick. Oh, and Kyle Korver. They love running going right to shoot. So James going left, he can get his shots off. Goes left, his driving/dunking side.”
It seems like the former Wizards guard strongly disagrees with this tactic. After the failed experiment in Game 1, we can expect to see the defensively gritty Jazz go another way and maybe be more successful.