1. Become a Better Leader for the Rockets
There was not a doubt in anyone’s mind that Michael Jordan was the leader of those championship Chicago Bulls teams. There have sometimes been doubts about whether James Harden is the true leader of the Houston Rockets. In his two-year tenure with the Rockets, Chris Paul seemed to be the clear leader when he was on the court, even with Harden winning an MVP in the process.
You have to remember, though, that it is a regular-season award, which fits with the narrative for Harden already. Now with Paul having been traded for another former MVP in Russell Westbrook, Russ seems to be the leader of the team.
Jordan knew the Bulls were his team and he knew it was his responsibility to take Chicago to the promised land. Unfortunately, that element seems to be missing from Harden.
Part of being the undisputed leader is having trust in teammates. One great example of this was when Jordan passed the ball to an open James Paxson with the game on the line in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, which helped the Bulls secure their first NBA title.
Jordan did the same when he passed the ball to Steve Kerr for another game-winner in the 1997 NBA Finals, this time against the Utah Jazz.
Although Harden does put up monstrous stats individually, all that can really do is help a team win regular-season games. Leadership is what helps win championships. Sometimes the stats do not prove that, such as the case with Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. His stats are not really mind-blowing, but he has that leadership skill to help the Warriors when it matters most.
James Harden knows exactly what he is capable of doing on the hardwood. If he was able to show better leadership skills, the Rockets could quite possibly be a fringe dynasty. I’m not saying the Rockets could accomplish what those Bulls teams did, but they could certainly start with at least one championship if Harden can take command and lead.
Jordan pushed his teammates and helped them as much as he could. Even though most of the time he came off as arrogant, the team was better because of the person he was.
From punching Steve Kerr in the face at practice and dragging a hungover Dennis Rodman out of his hotel room, Jordan proved he will do whatever it takes to make sure his teammates have a winning mentality. Jordan simply hated losing, whereas Harden sometimes seems to not take losing as seriously.
Next: No. 2