James Harden will go down as one of the most polarizing players in NBA history. Some see his game as an evolution in offensive efficiency, others as a destruction of the spirit of the game. Whatever the camp you may be in, everyone agrees that he is practically unstoppable.
What bugs Harden the most aren’t fans complaining about him fishing for fouls (even though he gets annoyed by them too), being on the most despised franchise within NBA circles, most coaches and players saying he constantly travels on his step back, or a lot of media members saying they can’t sit through an entire Rockets game. What we learned is that Harden takes the criticism and doubt from other players and NBA legends to heart. He’s putting up monster numbers, has one of the most unstoppable moves in history and most players don’t give him the props he thinks he deserves.
Steph Curry was mic’d up in the Charlotte All-Star game, so we got to hear him explaining that Harden just walked up to him and started explaining he doesn’t want to play so much iso but he has to for the team to win. (He does want to play so much iso, by the way.) Now, at least one NBA legend gave Harden props and made an interesting comparison.
“It’s undeniable that he’s one of the greatest to ever touch the basketball…Just the way that he’s able to score the basketball…That’s why he’s getting hate because we’ve never seen it like this before.”Dwayne Wade on “All the smoke“
Wade is in Harden’s corner, and the point he is making is true. We7ve never seen it like this before, but not because there weren’t players that could’ve tried to play this way. It was considered bad, selfish basketball at the time – not the mention you couldn’t play like this in any other era in the NBA. Harden isn’t just playing the game, he is gaming the system. Wade made an interesting comparison:
“He gotta take that Allen Iverson hate, because he’s one of the first ones to do it the way he’s been doing it. But keep going bro, do it your way.”Dwayne Wade on “All the smoke“
AI was an iso monster and a prolific scorer, but his game made more sense in the era he played in. I don’t want to get into the details of comparing Harden and Iverson and the way that played, but I ould just like to point out one thing. For Iverson to be his best version, the 76ers had to construct a team around him that always came up short in the playoffs. Their greatest achievement was ruining a 16-0 playoff run for the Lakers. They lost 4 – 1 in the Finals.
Do you want to put up points and lose, or empower your teammates and win? I’m sure AI would do certain things differently.