James Harden followed his MVP worthy season with another strong offensively productive 2015-16 campaign. But the Houston Rockets weren’t winning and in the end fell far short of expectations. Harden’s been under the microscope, and now a former Houston Rockets player (Robert Reid) is pointing a finger directly at Harden suggesting it starts with him.
It’s been a tough season for James Harden, what with his Houston Rockets struggling all season to find themselves. Repeated losses have only served to add fodder for pundits as to why a team who made the Western Conference Finals last season barely made the cut this year.
On paper the team was stronger with the core back, added depth and two rookies with projected high ceilings. Moreover, Houston was healthy for the most part, whereas last season there were times make-shift lineups were utilized due to all the injuries. Recalling that campaign, then head coach Kevin McHale had talked of the frustration surrounding practice given there was seldom enough bodies to put 10 players on court.
Or course this season that became a non-issue when McHale was fired just 11 games into the season. Between whispers from unnamed players and the former coaches wife’s social media shots, the first hints at Harden being the real issue emerged.
In less than a year Harden’s public image plummeted as suddenly he wasn’t getting the same superstar treatment by the NBA or his home town. Once again, Harden’s defense was called into question and his high time of possession for virtually every offensive set came under fire. When news broke mid season that apparently both Dwight Howard and Harden had requested the others trade the year prior the franchise was quick to deny those reports.
Space City Scoop is among the many (yours truly included) who’ve pointed to Harden’s leadership as being a concern. The top players don’t just get their stats, they make sure to improve those around them, and, oh yeah they make sure their team wins too.
Initially criticism surfaced here and there, however it’s become more the norm of late including from former players. To wit, ESPN featured an article in which former Rocket, Robert Reid placed the blame squarely on Harden. Reid spent 10 seasons in Red Nation in two separate stints of 5 years retiring for one year in between.
Reid didn’t hold back:
"“Harden is a tremendous player, but he’s not bringing it for the team,” Reid said. “I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it. Harden looks after Harden.”"
Reid emphasized the need for the Rockets to bring in a coach who has a strong voice that Harden will listen to and if he doesn’t then he’ll be sitting:
"“The new coach that they bring in here is the one that’s going to have to say, ‘I’m the one who gets fired if we don’t win, not you. Do you feel lucky? Because your happy-jack behind will be at the end of the bench until you come to this game that we want to play.’"
If Harden wants to make claims of being NBA’s best player his growth must be demonstrated via making his team better. As for being the team captain until he’s willing to compensate and better each teammate individually he simply has the name leader in title only.
Make sure you check out Space City Scoops end of season Rockets Round Table:
Space City Scoop is always looking to add new talent to our writing team. Currently we’re looking for individuals with a specialized focus. The first area of focus is perfect for someone who is constantly surfing the web for breaking news on injuries, trades, insider info etc. This individual would select the top news items and provide timely quick hits to keep SCS readers in the loop.
The other area of focus is someone who possesses a strong social media background who likes to interact with Clutch City Fans. You’ll promote SCS team content on facebook and twitter while also making sure to promote the best content coming from H-Town fans. If you have this capability and are interested check out this link and fill out an application.