As the NBA season hits the halfway point, the 2016 NBA All-Star Game is less than a month away. Since the announcement of it’s starters, there has been plenty of debates about which players should get the all-star nod as a reserve.
Some players, such as Draymond Green, DeMar DeRozan and DeMarcus Cousins are for sure locked in to get one of the reserve all-star spots, others may be lucky if their name is considered to take part in the exhibition game in Toronto.
Among the questionable to get one of these allocated spots is Houston Rockets‘ James Harden. Some analysts feel due to the lack of Houston’s success this season, Harden should not be considered for the honor.
If the All-Star game was only based off the success of the team, then there are plenty of players throughout history who would have fallen short of the honor. While James Harden has had a few questionable games this season, I find it hysterical that anyone would leave him off their all-star roster. Given it’s the coaches voting and they are the ones who prepare the game plans, I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t make the list.
According to my fellow co-writer Joshua Van Horn of Space City Scoop, in his article, Houston Rockets Approach Halfway Point of Season, Joshua gave his reasons why Harden may go without receiving the all-star vote after a disappointing start to the season.
"“After contending for a championship just a season ago, the Rockets have since under performed more than any other team in the NBA. With a .500 record of 22-22, the Rockets are currently riding a two game losing streak. Though I believe Harden is as good as any of the Western Conference starters, the Rockets record speaks for itself, and it makes sense that Harden should go without the all-star nod .”"
Although we both agree that Harden is as good as any of the starters in the Western Conference, the Rockets’ record should not reflect him receiving his fourth all-star appearance. What should and will support Harden’s appearance is his individual performances that is all-star worthy. Although the league should award players on winning teams, there are some that cannot be overlooked.
Harden is the NBA’s second leading scorer with 27.6 points per game, and ninth in assists at just under seven a game. Just about every night he has flirted with a triple-double, and cannot forget that he has the second highest point total of the season with 50 against the 76ers. However, if Houston ever tries to go after another superstar player, then Rockets fans may have to worry about Harden’s individual performances as a negative.
When Inside the NBA Crew debated which players should be added on to the all-star roster, former Rocket Charles Barkley made a good point about why most players will not like to play with “the beard”. Which also resulted in Barkley leaving Harden off his reserve roster.
Barkley’s quote is cited from Space City Scoops’ editor Tamberlyn Richardson, in her article Charles Barkley says ‘he wouldn’t want to play with Rockets James Harden’.
"“I do not like James Harden’s game. He’s a good player and he’s a nice guy, he would not be fun to play with. I don’t want to see him dribble 22 seconds and either shoot a step back or pass to me and I have to throw up a bad percentage shot. “"
I agree with Charles Barkley’s opinion about not wanting to play with Harden. James Harden is a phenomenal player on the court. However, his one-on-one play will make Houston a less attractive destination for another All-Star player.
With respect to his play making abilities, Harden is a good facilitator who can create scoring opportunities for his teammates. However, he does not know how to give up the ball without freezing out his teammates. Like ESPN analyst Amin Elhassan once said, “There is a difference in receiving a pass that is quick, versus getting a pass after a guy has just dribbled for 17 seconds.”
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During his isolation plays, Harden tends to dribble the shot clock down to the last 10 seconds, and past it if he cannot get his shot off. This is horrible for the Rockets. Watching Harden go one-on-one for 15 seconds will take the energy out of the team’s offense.
Even Shaquille O’Neal agreed that playing with James Harden every night would not be fun. Especially as a big man (Dwight Howard). However, Shaq made another great point. One-on-one battles is what fans are expecting to see during this mid season classic.
"“Chuck does make a great point. As a big guy I keep alluding to the big guys, but probably would not be fun to play with. but when he gets going, he gets going , you know All-Star Game, fans want to see so him coming out and shooting a couple threes in Toronto, place would go crazy. so that’s why I said James Harden. “"
Overall, when it comes to James Harden making the All-Star team next month, Rockets fans do not have anything to worry about. The bearded one will be representing Clutch City in Toronto. And for this NBA fan I’ll be hoping Kobe Bryant, wins the hardware, but if not then hopefully Harden can bring the city of Houston the All-Star MVP back from “the 6ix”.
Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series, as well as our Space City Scoop Round Table Sessions to help you get through the season. Start your morning with SCS Daily Rocket Science, which offers an update on the Rockets around the National and Social Media sites. Visit us throughout the day to stay on top of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.