Rockets: Rasheed Wallace thinks James Harden does one move too often

Rasheed Wallace (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Rasheed Wallace (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Longtime NBA veteran Rasheed Wallace appreciates the game of Houston Rockets superstar James Harden but thinks he could benefit from stopping one move in particular.

Of the many things to admire about James Harden‘s offense, his variety is toward the top of the list. It seems he adds a new wrinkle to his game every season, which has helped him lead the Houston Rockets to the playoffs for the last seven straight years. Several NBA stars past and present have taken notice of exactly what James has been accomplishing in Houston.

The Harden love continued from more former players recently as Rasheed Wallace and former Rocket Bonzi Wells welcomed Kendrick Perkins to their podcast Let’s Get Technical. All three started by agreeing that Harden is one of the most unguardable players the game has ever seen.

“He’s going down as one of the best scorers in NBA history,” said Perkins. “People need to put some respect on his name,” added Wells. While Wallace didn’t argue with either point, he did offer some constructive criticism of the former NBA MVP.

Rasheed’s Issue with James Harden’s Shot Selection

“I like him too but the only thing I’d say I don’t like is the little sidestep move,” began Wallace. “I can’t rock and roll with that little sidestep move.” While Perkins and Wells both argued that the move has brought Harden some success, Rasheed offered that it isn’t enough.

“It could be unstoppable but I mean, you gotta make the bucket, though,” said Wallace. “You’re too far from the basket to do the side step every time. What’s the one thing we always learned when you shoot your jump shot? [Go] straight up and down. When you’re sidestepping, your momentum is going with you.”

One example of what Wallace is talking about happened during the Rockets’ 126-106 home loss to the Orlando Magic this past March.

Granted, in this situation, Harden is basically left on an island with the 7-foot Nikola Vucevic on him, so it’s hard to go to his patented 3-pointer. That’s exactly why he shouldn’t be taking a three at all in this situation, though.

Over the years, James has developed a remarkable ability to throw defenders off using his body weight and balance, which he can often do instead of settling for side-stepping, off-balance longballs. While his stepback isn’t exactly always the best shot to take either, he seems to make that with more regularity than when he jumps to the side.

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Obviously, the fact that Harden is averaging 35 points per game over the last season and three-fourths shows that he doesn’t need advice from players (or me for that matter), but it couldn’t hurt to make some minor adjustments to help improve his efficiency just a little bit more.