During All-Star weekend, microphones picked up Stephen Curry telling Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer that James Harden is tired of playing hero ball for the Rockets.
After winning his first MVP Award last season, James Harden has managed to take his game to the next level this year.
James Harden is currently averaging a league-leading 36.6 points, to along with 6.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Harden has scored at least 30 points in 31 consecutive games, dating back to Dec. 13, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history with such a streak.
Outside of leading the league in scoring, Harden is also leading all players in free throws made, 3-pointers made, box plus/minus and player efficiency rating. He is playing the best basketball of his career and is currently on one of the most prolific scoring runs in the history of the game.
However, he may be fed up with playing hero ball.
During All-Star Weekend, Stephen Curry told Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer that Harden said he was tired of playing hero ball and that he wants to do things differently, via Sounds of the NBA.
“I talked to James in the back and obviously complemented him on what he’s done. The first thing he says is, ‘it’s fun, but I want to play different. Playing by myself or whatever, hero ball — the people want him to play like that, play in a system where they actually can play beautiful basketball with guys that know how to play.”
2019 | @stephencurry30 on conversation with @jharden13 "I talked to James in the back… obviously complemented him on what he's done. First thing he says is, it's fun, but I want to play different. Playing by myself or whatever , heroball — the people wanna play in a system where they actually can play beautiful basketball with guys that know how to play.”
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Obviously, Harden has had even more responsibility on his shoulders this year due to all of the injuries. Chris Paul is still getting back into shape after missing 17 consecutive games from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25. Clint Capela has been out since Jan. 14 with a thumb injury, but he could return in Houston’s first game after the All-Star break on Feb. 21. Eric Gordon has missed 12 games this season. James Ennis missed significant time before he was traded, too. Nene hasn’t been available as often as he was last season either.
James Harden has been playing hero ball because he hasn’t had any other option. The West is as deep as its ever been and after Houston’s slow start, they were outside of the playoff picture.
Now that the Rockets are expected to be fully healthy after the All-Star break, Harden will have plenty of help from Paul, Gordon, Capela and Houston’s bench. These last 26 games of the regular season should be Houston’s best stretch of basketball.