During a live stream of Call of Duty on Wednesday night, Ben Simmons talked about how the defense of Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden is underrated.
Among a variety of cold takes surrounding the Houston Rockets and James Harden throughout the years, the one regarding his “lack of defense” has been the longest-lasting. The narrative about Harden has been that he doesn’t put in the effort and takes too many defensive possessions off in favor of giving it his all on the offensive end.
Opinions on The Beard’s defensive efforts have been widespread among the media, fans and even other players, such as Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. While the noise has gotten a bit quieter than it used to be, it’s still prevalent among NBA circles.
On Wednesday night, two-time Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons took a stand for Harden when asked about his defense. During a Twitch live stream of Call of Duty, the Australian didn’t hold back.
“I got something to say,” Simmons started. “Everybody talks on James’ defense and stuff but he can play D. Y’all don’t understand how strong that dude is. I swear, he’s a strong guy. You can’t always look at numbers, man.”
The full quote can be found in this clip from his stream:
Ben Simmons giving James Harden his credit on defense because of how strong he is pic.twitter.com/pTnqaGgT4y
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) March 19, 2020
Coming from one of the premier guards in the league, this is high praise. Ben Simmons has been one of the best players in the league at getting to the basket and finishing, currently averaging 13.1 points in the paint this season.
Given that many have been outspoken about how Harden’s post defense is underrated within players’ circles, it makes sense that Simmons has taken notice of The Beard’s defensive abilities.
We’ve written numerous times about how underrated Harden’s defense has been, including how he is often toward the top of the team in defensive field goal percentage and even better in that regard when he’s guarding in the post.
It’s good to see an All-Star talent like Simmons giving some credit to Harden for his vastly-improved defense in recent years.