James Harden responds to Kobe Bryant saying the Houston Rockets won’t win a championship relying so heavily on just one player.
The Beard’s play has kept Houston afloat despite a myriad of injuries, which has put him at the forefront of the MVP race for a second consecutive year.
However, NBA legend Kobe Bryant doesn’t think the Rockets can win a championship relying so heavily on one player, as he recently told ESPN.
“Well, I think he has to do what he has to do in order for his team to win. And there’s certain levels to it. So, there’s the style of play in which he’s using, which I’m not a fan of in terms of winning championships. I don’t think that style’s ever gonna win championships.”
“But at the same time, you have to keep your team’s head above water to win games. So, you have to do what you have to do to win games. And he’s doing it.”
Some media outlets framed Kobe’s words in a harsh way, as if he was saying that Harden isn’t capable of leading Houston to a ring. But clearly Kobe is saying that in a league with talented teams like the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets need other guys to step up and take some of the load off of Harden in order to win in the postseason.
And he is right.
Kobe is just speaking from experience here. After the 2003-04 season, when the Lakers made it to the Finals, Shaquille O’Neal was traded to Miami, Gary Payton went to Boston and Karl Malone retired. The Lakers were left with Kobe and a bunch of less talented and experienced players.
In the 2005-06 season, Kobe averaged 35.4 points and attempted 27.2 shots per game. Bryant had to go for 40 every night because outside of Lamar Odom, the Lakers’ next best players were Smush Parker and Kwame Brown. Not exactly All-Star level talent.
Despite Kobe’s insane scoring numbers that season, the Lakers won just 45 games and lost in the first round to Steve Nash‘s Phoenix Suns.
James Harden agrees with Kobe and he knows that things will change once the Rockets get all of their guys back, as he told ESPN.
“I mean, I have to be ball dominant just because we have injuries. We had injuries throughout the course of the year, but when we get Chris [Paul] in a rhythm and Eric [Gordon] back and get our full roster, we got multiple guys that can make plays, multiple guys that can dominate the ball.”
“For right now, he’s probably right. This way, that we’re playing, won’t happen, won’t get us to where we want to go. But we haven’t had a full roster yet, so I’m excited for that to come.”
So far this season, the Rockets have needed James Harden to put up MVP numbers to keep them in the playoff race, and he has delivered. However, Kobe knows that it takes a team to win a championship, and he was simply speaking from experience, he wasn’t being a hater.
Don’t forget that three of Houston’s four best players are either out or aren’t completely healthy. We can’t really evaluate this team until Chris Paul is back to 100 percent and Eric Gordon and Clint Capela return to the lineup.