Rockets News

Houston Rockets fans have their say: Harden’s Leadership

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Jan 10, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) sits on the court after a play during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) sits on the court after a play during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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There is no denying the Houston Rockets fans are a spirited and dedicated group. Recently while looking back at articles run over the past few weeks I noted numerous entries showcasing passion, intelligence and the heart of the Clutch City faithful.

To that end, there have been some amazing comments coming from our readers which the larger audience may have missed had they not revisited those articles. In an effort to share those thoughts with the loyal Space City Scoop readers the best of your offerings have been compiled and will be featured on our site for all to enjoy. And hey if any of you would like to bring your talents to the site on a regular basis, we’d love to add you to the team!

James Harden’s Leadership

Case in point, an article by yours truly questioning Harden’s leadership (James Harden Needs to Focus on Becoming Better Leader) drew some amazing comments from Houston Rockets fans.  I’ve placed the responses in the order they were received for you viewing pleasure:

From Jerel:

Yes indeed. Underneath that Beard you will a young man who is trying to find his way. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to want to listen to anyone. He has already acknowledged (many times) blocking out (constructive) criticism, and his greatest defense (no pun intended) may be found in that ability. Yet it makes one speculate about the men in his life that he has emulated.

To be perfectly frank, management should consider bringing on staff a psychologist (versus a psychiatrist who may prescribed illegal drugs). Not just for James, but for the whole team. I would wager that if you track the origin of James, Dwight, Beverley, etc. one may find some interesting stuff and compelling journeys that saw unique challenges.

Now every team should have a mental professional on board, but since you brought the subject up (James …Leadership), this is one solution to help. Meanwhile, the dysfunction may yet surprise in spite of, and the season isn’t over with quite yet. Let’s win!

From Weirdbeard:

I can’t argue any of the points made here. However, I would put the coaching issue first on the list. My other comments today focused mostly on coaching as it applies to player usage/rotation. But I did briefly comment on the need to provide James with a strong, experienced hand to guide and mold him into the leader he must become if Houston is going to build a team around him.

Your “main man” has to be one who motivates and rallies his teammates, not only with his individual play, but with his example of being a team player. James is still young, inexperienced in the leadership role and used to simply being a scorer. We missed out on Thibodeau (DEEP sigh), so the need to find the proper person to develop a team identity, create a meaningful offensive game plan and to develop/drill into these Rockets a defensive identity that will DEMAND the respect of opponents couldn’t be more urgently needed.

From Ultimate187:

Harden is not a leader. There’s no evidence that he’s interested in being one either. He’s a diva who once called himself a cornerstone and everyone else on the team role players. Harden is Carmelo Anthony if Anthony were more obnoxious and had a beard. The Rockets won’t win with Harden as he currently is. He’s part of the problem

Again From Weirdbeard:

I agree that Harden’s head isn’t on straight, but he’s still young and inexperienced. He also has never played for an NBA coach who is structured, and tough, as well as being a team builder. That’s why I prayed we’d bring in Thibodeau. Creative offensive sets, withering defense and a team builder.

Someone needs to show James how to be a leader and demand a different style of play from him and the whole team. Harden’s play is a symptom, not the problem. Bring in a strong, organized head coach who knows how to develop and utilize his players and the Rockets will turn it around. If not, we can draft or trade for anyone in the league and we’ll continue to be disorganized, individualistic gang of talented losers.

From Knibb:

Houston, we have a problem… named James Harden.

Again from Knibb in response to above:

Harden is not a college freshman. He is not an NBA rookie. He is not even a bench warmer. He had been paid (and paid well) for many years to play a professional sport but often in a non-professional manner. He has one mission in life and that is to score as much as he can in every game and damn teamwork or his teammates.

If by now he is still being pampered as someone young and inexperienced then he is nothing but a spoiled brat who knew he can do whatever he wants in front of (or behind) his adoring parents/relatives and gets away with it.
Not all leaders were born leaders but when a situation demands one to lead and one simply cannot step up and take over, then leadership is simply not one of his limited talents.

Again from Weirdbeard back in response:

You are correct that Harden has been in the league awhile. I believe this is his 7th season. But he has not been in the position of being expected to be the team leader very long at all. It really wasn’t until last season that I recall talk of him needing to step up and lead the team. While you may be correct that he just doesn’t have the leadership ability needed by the Rockets, I would still argue that I, myself, am not ready to make that determination until we see him operate under a coach with some balls. If you read back in my comments earlier this season, I’ve had some negative things to say about Harden’s game and attitude. But the failure of this Rockets team can’t be laid on his shoulders alone.

There was no chemistry, no discipline, horrible use of personnel and no discernable game plan on either offense or defense this whole season. You can’t lay that all on Harden. That is a head coach’s job. If the Houston front office ever gets its head out of its butt and brings in a strong, no B.S. head coach who will demand that each player accept and execute their specific role(s), then we’ll see if James is just a talented diva or if he’s got what it takes to lead a team. Hell, The Jet tried to light a fire under these guys this season and threw up his hands in disgust. And he’s been in the league since the game was played with a peach basket.

There’s many reasons why the Rockets’ 2015-16 season was a failure and plenty of blame to go around. Let’s hope we can hire a head coach who will bring order and discipline to this bunch and then we’ll finally get to see who’s got what it takes and who doesn’t. If Harden doesn’t respond, then I’m all for sending him packing. Until then, I’m not ready to write him off. And contrary to your last statement, I would not refer to Harden as a guy with “limited talents”, but as a very talented guy who needs a lot of work on his defense and a mentor who will show, by example, how to be a leader.

In closing from Weirdbeard:

Just as an example of what I thnk the problem is, watch Game 3 of the Clippers/Blazers series on “NBA ACTION” or wherever. Listen to the talk among teammates, watch the intensity of play. That’s what’s missing from the Rockets. If you want to lay the blame for that on Harden, you could make an argument for your views. But, in my mind, that’s a TEAM issue. That’s a failure to create a TEAM identity and a TEAM ethic and a camaraderie among teammates.

That is, indeed, a player issue, but the odds against it happening in a vacuum is VERY small. Leadership, by definition, comes from the top. Day to day, that’s the head coach. Can the players refuse to cooperate? Sure. But if it gets to that point, it’s time to get rid of the whole team and start over, That could, in fact, happen with this team. They definitely need a LOTTTTT of work. But the talent is there. It just needs to be correctly trained and molded into a UNIT. A TEAM that believes in itself will often be a winner over a more talented but less cohesive team. AND it’s a helluva lot more fun to watch!

More from Space City Scoop

Suffice to say it’s easy to see how invested the Rockets fan base is. Moreover, many point to the issues surrounding having a solid head coach who the players will not only listen to, but respond.

Make sure you check out the current Space City Scoop series including our year end player analysis, draft prospects worthy of Rockets picking or trading for and our end of season Rockets Round Table:

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 1

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 2

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 3

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.

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