James Harden has received nothing but criticism for his (lack of) defense in Space City. With the Houston Rockets, he’s seen his offensive role expand dramatically, at the cost of uninspired defense. But a look back here at a Thunder vs. Lakers contest shows a very different James Harden.
Harden stops Kobe in back-to-back posts ups, forces a tough shot, and a near Kobe turnover, followed by a missed jumper. Harden was SHUTTING DOWN the best 2-guard in the NBA.
And now we see him wave people by like a matador. This video shows why that is completely inexcusable. Harden stayed patient and didn’t bite the fakes of Mamba, something almost everyone does.
If this Harden could return, the Rockets would indisputably be top-tier contenders. Why couldn’t it? Why won’t it? Someone just needs to remind Harden that he’s a good defender when he puts forth the effort, and then he’d get the respect of fans, media and other players in an instant. For the meantime, we’re left to wonder where the Harden capable of covering Kobe went.