Houston Rockets: 3 goals for James Harden in 2018-19 season
3. Improve on defense
Throughout James Harden’s career, the obvious weak point in his game has been his defense. He doesn’t have any weaknesses offensively, so he tends to coast on defense at times and not give a ton of effort.
Throughout the years, Houston’s defense has been better when Harden isn’t on the floor. Last season, the Rockets held their opponents to 2.6 points fewer per 100 possessions when Harden was on the bench. Houston’s opponent’s field goal percentage also dropped by 1.6 percent when Harden wasn’t on the floor.
But Harden has shown improvement in some areas. When defending in the post, Harden gave up just 0.73 points per possession, placing him in the 82 percentile. That’s better than other elite defenders like Draymond Green (0.76 points per post-up possession) and Al Horford (0.79 points per post-up possession), and those guys defended less post ups than Harden did last year.
Harden has shown some promise on defense and he seems to have less mental lapses than in years past. Although, I’d still like to see him gamble less in the passing lanes and stay more alert when defending off of the ball.
Next: No. 2