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Houston Rockets’ summer assignment list: Part 2, James Harden

Read Part 1 where I discussed Pat Beverley, Donatas Motiejunas, and Trevor Ariza.

James Harden:  First, the obvious – Harden needs to show commitment on the defensive end.  It’s simple, really.  This team doesn’t have a chance until its star player brings consistent effort on both sides of the ball, though the Parsons/Ariza swap should mitigate the problem and increase their odds.  As I told a reader last week, when asked my thoughts regarding the reports of Harden’s defense with Team USA, it’s not an issue of ability with The Beard.  It’s the same “too cool for school” mentality that you see so prevalently in any pickup game amongst amateurs.  Certain people think they’re just too cool, or too good to try defensively, and that they can just get the points back on the other end.  Odd considering how much the defensive greatness of Michael Jordan and Lebron James, the two best players of the last thirty years, is lauded and pointed out.

Wrongly or not, Harden has quickly become the most hated superstar in the league, after experiencing a brief honeymoon as a fledgling darling during his first year with the team.  His recent comments regarding his ‘mates added fuel to the fire and of even more recent relevance, the clarification that he and Howard actually do eat with the team saved the row from reaching outright unbearable levels.  Is he aware of the perception?  Does he know that the ten minute production highlighting his unwillingness went more viral than anything Jenna Jameson ever produced?  One wonders why, at the least, such public shame and notoriety hasn’t nudged him to bend his back.

When the deal was made with the Thunder, what now seems like eons ago, some reports surfaced of Harden’s selfishness – that he didn’t fit the “culture” in Oklahoma City.  One story went that shortly after a loss in the Finals, Harden grumbled in the lockerroom over his lack of touches.  At the time, we brushed it all aside, and rightfully so.  As I’ll expound upon later, none of those things should’ve been seen as alarming enough to not make the trade.  But looking back, I see the truth.  Watching this past season, watching James Harden, I see a player who is selfish and not as committed to the team and winning as he is to himself.   You see how he is completely out of shape, huffing and puffing late into games when needing to guard an active wing; you see his disinterestedness in the huddles; and worst of all, you see the body language when things don’t go his way.  When he essentially quit on this team in an overtime loss to Portland in round 1, after Kevin McHale made the call to ride Dwight Howard to the finish line, I remarked that I had never seen anything like it in twenty years as a Rockets fan.  In hindsight, its even more alarming looking back.

Some of you have no doubt recoiled in disbelief over my criticism of Harden.  A reader asked earlier in the year, “why are you trying to run James Harden out of town?”  That’s a pretty simplistic worldview.  You can criticize, but still be supportive.  And more importantly, I don’t suggest these issues are irredeemable or mean he’s fatally flawed.  Harden is still just 25 and there are countless examples of selfishness exhibited by some of the all-time greats.  Remember Scottie Pippen refusing to enter a game after Phil Jackson drew up the last play for Toni Kukoc?  Remember Kobe’s entire career?  Selfishness isn’t prohibitive to winning.  The distinction though, is that those guys consistently brought it at both ends, at least in the postseason.  As has been beaten to death, that’s something that James Harden has yet to do.

Harden is one of the four or five most brilliant offensive players in basketball.  With age, and a style of play nondependent upon athleticism, I expect him to only get better.  His skill level will improve, as is the case with elite wings.  The footwork, already at a high level, will become even more fine-tuned.  The stepbacks from the midrange will become more lethal from different areas, and hopefully more encouraged from the front office as well.  We saw a post game in spots, and that too, hopefully will be built upon.  Might as well put that extra girth to use.

Harden’s offense will be there.  And his attitude towards his teammates may never change.  But that’s ok.  For Harden, the only thing that matters, the only thing standing in his path to realizing full potential, and this team’s full potential, is full commitment on the defensive end.  He’s talked the talk for some time, but will he finally walk the walk?

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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Total comments: 82
  • Steven says 2 months ago

    I guess we can call harden a top 10 player but never compare him to others who plays D and carries their team to the second round huh?

    One player can only carry so much dead weight. Morey has let go of all the dead weight this summer, Harden won't have to carry the likes of Lin, Chanler Parsons (no D in chandler, just ask Lillard) and Asik.
  • Cooper says 2 months ago Wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
  • thenit says 2 months ago I guess we can call harden a top 10 player but never compare him to others who plays D and carries their team to the second round huh?
  • Buckko says 2 months ago

    I still think Lillard would have had a far different playoff experience if Beverley hadn't tore his meniscus.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago Goodbye.
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    Its only fair to compare Harden and Howard to the other top players, You could use the oh Hardens young argument but so are several other young guys in the conversation (Davis, Westbrook,LIllard,Love etc) and this is really the last year that it holds water. They both have the ability, rational people realize they are both at least top 15 players even if they don't necessarily like their game, and both players believe they are top players. Whats so bad about comparing them?


    Ok fair enough.

    Except.............

    Anthony Davis has played zero (0) playoff games, even the "who cares?' first round of NBA playoff games.

    K. Love, just exactly how has he and his team performed over the past 5-6+ years since Love has been in the NBA? Playoff games, non-existent period end of story.

    Could change probably will change in a few months THANKS to some dude named LeBron.

    Westbrook has this KD dude that is unbelievable on his team in case nobody noticed. Just saying.........

    Lillard, very nice player, so one playoff series and all of a sudden he is GOLDEN?

    Really?

    IDN.

    Why do I even waste my time coming on this board to post my comments.

    Many, many times it just seems utterly useless-----
  • Cooper says 2 months ago

    Its only fair to compare Harden and Howard to the other top players, You could use the oh Hardens young argument but so are several other young guys in the conversation (Davis, Westbrook,LIllard,Love etc) and this is really the last year that it holds water. They both have the ability, rational people realize they are both at least top 15 players even if they don't necessarily like their game, and both players believe they are top players. Whats so bad about comparing them?

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago So we shouldn't judge him against KD and the rest? We are all grateful he is here. I think if he didn't have so much talent it'd be different. But he's so talented and you see him not living up to his potential (mostly on the defensive side) and it's frustrating, especially since we didn't get that third star.
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    I agree. We shouldn't be judging him by the harshest standards. It's not like he said he was the best in the world......oh wait he did.


    And just exactly which top 10 player in the past 20-30 years in the NBA didn't have some swagger?

    Shrugging my shoulders again and again is straining my neck.

    C'mon, man...........
  • txtdo1411 says 2 months ago

    Ariza also has the "only plays well in contract years" reputation hanging over his head.

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    You know what excites me? We don't have a single player on the roster without something to prove.

    Beverley - still fighting to be respected as a PG, offensive contributor, and NBA-talent in general.

    Harden - defense, the trade, the paycheck, the words, all of it. He has set his sights on the tip-top of the mountain--which is good.

    Ariza - knows he fell flat here the first time and would love to win back the love of this city (I'm guessing here, but it makes sense)

    Jones - After everything, still viewed overall negatively by a lot of fans and pundits. Fighting for his job and for respect.

    Howard - Still trying to regain the love he lost over the last few years and wants that ring...knows this is his time.

    Motiejunas - See T. Jones above

    Daniels - Seen as a one trick pony. Wants to prove he belongs with the big boys in this league.

    Canaan - See T. Daniels above

    Papanikoloau - Wants to prove he can play at the next level after dominating in Europe.

    Covington, Johnson, Capela, Gee....all just want to be on the roster.

    Ish Smith - See T. Daniels above

    Francisco Garcia might be the only guy who doesn't really have anything to prove--we all know what he brings and I think he will have a stronger season for us this year than last. I like having him on the team--reminds me a bit of Charles Oakley with his presence on the court.

    The point is, they all have their own, personal reasons to work, and work hard. I think that can focus and orient them towards a strong team dynamic knowing that if the team does well and they are contributing to that then everybody gets what they want.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago I'm just saying he's a franchise player, getting paid the max, considers himself the best in the world. With all of those factors, it's okay to judge him on the same level of KD, CP3, etc.... I know you like to ignore anything negative FSS.

    On your other point, I'm also glad that he thinks he is the best. He also said he needs to improve( paraphrasing). So since he set the bar so high with his play and words, I'll judge him at that level.
  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago I'm glad Harden said he's the best in the world. I want him to believe he is better than Durant and James. There are also other quotes in that interview that should be considered when referencing the primary sound byte. Or you can just take that one bit out of context and twist it for your sarcastic comments.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago I agree. We shouldn't be judging him by the harshest standards. It's not like he said he was the best in the world......oh wait he did.
  • rocketrick says 2 months ago

    New post: Houston Rockets' summer assignment list: Part 2, James Harden
    By: rahat huq


    Read Part 1 where I discussed Pat Beverley, Donatas Motiejunas, and Trevor Ariza.
    James Harden: First, the obvious - Harden needs to show commitment on the defensive end. It's simple, really. This team doesn't have a chance until its star player brings consistent effort on both sides of the ball, though the Parsons/Ariza swap should mitigate the problem and increase their odds. As I told a reader last week, when asked my thoughts regarding the reports of Harden's defense with Team USA, it's not an issue of ability with The Beard. It's the same "too cool for school" mentality that you see so prevalently in any pickup game amongst amateurs. Certain people think they're just too cool, or too good to try defensively, and that they can just get the points back on the other end. Odd considering how much the defensive greatness of Michael Jordan and Lebron James, the two best players of the last thirty years, is lauded and pointed out.

    Wrongly or not, Harden has quickly become the most hated superstar in the league, after experiencing a brief honeymoon as a fledgling darling during his first year with the team. His recent comments regarding his 'mates added fuel to the fire and of even more recent relevance, the clarification that he and Howard actuallydo eat with the team saved the row from reaching outright unbearable levels. Is he aware of the perception? Does he know that the ten minute production highlighting his unwillingness went more viral than anything Jenna Jameson ever produced? One wonders why, at the least, such public shame and notoriety hasn't nudged him to bend his back.
    When the deal was made with the Thunder, what now seems like eons ago, some reports surfaced of Harden's selfishness - that he didn't fit the "culture" in Oklahoma City. One story went that shortly after a loss in the Finals, Harden grumbled in the lockerroom over his lack of touches. At the time, we brushed it all aside, and rightfully so. As I'll expound upon later, none of those things should've been seen as alarming enough to not make the trade. But looking back, I see the truth. Watching this past season, watching James Harden, I see a player who is selfish and not as committed to the team and winning as he is to himself. You see how he is completely out of shape, huffing and puffing late into games when needing to guard an active wing; you see his disinterestedness in the huddles; and worst of all, you see the body language when things don't go his way. When he essentially quit on this team in an overtime loss to Portland in round 1, after Kevin McHale made the call to ride Dwight Howard to the finish line, I remarked that I had never seen anything like it in twenty years as a Rockets fan. In hindsight, its even more alarming looking back.
    Some of you have no doubt recoiled in disbelief over my criticism of Harden. A reader asked earlier in the year, "why are you trying to run James Harden out of town?" That's a pretty simplistic worldview. You can criticize, but still be supportive. And more importantly, I don't suggest these issues are irredeemable or mean he's fatally flawed. Harden is still just 25 and there are countless examples of selfishness exhibited by some of the all-time greats. Remember Scottie Pippen refusing to enter a game after Phil Jackson drew up the last play for Toni Kukoc? Remember Kobe's entire career? Selfishness isn't prohibitive to winning. The distinction though, is that those guys consistently brought it at both ends, at least in the postseason. As has been beaten to death, that's something that James Harden has yet to do.
    Harden is one of the four or five most brilliant offensive players in basketball. With age, and a style of play nondependent upon athleticism, I expect him to only get better. His skill level will improve, as is the case with elite wings. The footwork, already at a high level, will become even more fine-tuned. The stepbacks from the midrange will become more lethal from different areas, and hopefully more encouraged from the front office as well. We saw a post game in spots, and that too, hopefully will be built upon. Might as well put that extra girth to use.
    Harden's offense will be there. And his attitude towards his teammates may never change. But that's ok. For Harden, the only thing that matters, the only thing standing in his path to realizing full potential, and this team's full potential, is full commitment on the defensive end. He's talked the talk for some time, but will he finally walk the walk?


    Why the hate?

    I know the article was NOT written by a LOF, but it sure feels that way to me reading through it.

    I don't know, Harden has been a Rocket for 2 seasons, previously the 6th man for OKC, just barely 25 years old and he is receiving incredible criticism in my opinion for whatever that might or probably is not worth.
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @Buckko/TTDN

    I agree with Buckko........it's more system and coach than beingon a winning team. TTDN Bledsoe isn't a good gamble for Philly. he doesn't fit their long term goals right now. tanking is what they are doing. he would only worsen draft pick position and tie up cap room that could be better used facilitating trades and accepting salary dumps for additional assets. remember if they made the playoffs they would lose their first round pick. a pick they badly need right now. just doesn't look like a good solid move for them........at least not at this point. if they want Bledsoe they could wait for him to hit the FA market next time (after the contract he will sign this year most likely) so why deviate from the plan now? the NBA hasn't changed anything yet so they appear right on schedule to do what it is they are trying to do. Bledsoe would only complicate that effort

  • Buckko says 2 months ago

    Disagree about players on winning teams develop better. It matters about the development system and coaches, however that can correlate that good teams have good development systems that get the most out of their players, making it a big reason why the team is good in the first place. The 76ers got the development coach of the spurs for the last few years as their head coach, so I think they are set.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago They need a 1/2 and a 3. Bledsoe is still young and fits the 1/2 need. Remember MCW is 6'6" or 6'7". Bledsoe is a young piece. I know he would kill their cap space going forward so a 2-3 year deal would give them a good player and also an asset due to his relative youth. So why not grab him? The only legit reason is they want to tank. If tanking isn't rewarded it's better to grab Bledsoe. In my opinion, Youngsters thrive on talented teams more than weaker teams( if they get playing time). Why do you think the Spurs youngsters all look like all stars till they leave ( a la Hill)? Asking the young guys to do everything from day 1 works for some, but ends others careers who can't live up to the demands.
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    the thing about a young team like Philly is you have to let the youngsters play before you actually know what you have. not all of their young talent will succeed. there will be castoffs, trades and other factors that affect the roster going forward. human being are not math equations. there is no way to know the final outcome until they play. Yes they are high draft picks, but high draft picks sometimes fail too. I believe the 76er's have some good choices, however they must still prove themselves. if Noel and Embedprove to be a foundation on the inside the sky is the limit for this young squad.

  • Buckko says 2 months ago

    The 76ers aren't looking for a playoff spot anytime soon, they are in year 2 of what hinkie called a 3-5 year rebuild. Honestly don't see the 76ers in the FA market until 2016 at the earliest unless they are taking salary dumps or facilitating trades.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @TTDN

    they have no need to kill Phoenix's cap space.......wrong conference. true Bledsoe can play SG, but they can probably findone without having to pay Bledsoe's money based on the fact that they aren't ready to win now. they are at least 3 years away IMO. it would be senseless to jump on Bledsoe when his contract would almost be up before they even start competing.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago They had Anderson at the 2 last year... Bledsoe is athletic enough to play the 2. He's not a great shooter but he's getting better. If Young is indeed gone then they are going to suck. Why not get Bledsoe or kill Phoenix's cap space? It's a win/win either way.
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @TTDN

    why no Bledsoe? MCW that's why. I don't see them moving to a 2 PG offense. Young is already gone in the K-Love deal for Bennett

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago Noel is 2-3 years out from being a serviceable jump shooter. Which coincides with their window. If the lottery is changed watch Philly offer a 2 year max (2nd year team option) for Bledsoe and move to a 2 PG set. If they keep Young which is possible, they will be a playoff team in the East. If they move Young they're still bad enough to be in the lottery but if position doesn't matter in the lottery (with the proposed rule changes) why not go after Bledsoe?
  • Buckko says 2 months ago

    Could be, but their main hole right now is a dominant wing scorer from the looks of this draft its big man top heavy with wing scorers in the lower top half, so winning the #1 pick for the 6ers might not be much more than a luxury of trading down. IMO it could be huge for the bucks though, because anyone with knowledge of the worst team's rosters and this draft's top prospects is the bucks lack an elite playmaking PG and Mudiay is their man. Mudiay is expected to go top 5 at least, probably top 3 unless he crashes and burns in china which I doubt. If Mudiay, Giannis, and Parker reach their potential as a big 3 plus the other young talented parts, that's another extremely dangerous team in 5 years.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @Buckko

    I agree Philly could be an OKC plan being un-hatched in the east. however if the NBA changes the lottery format before they can complete their talent acquisition it could throw a monkey wrench into their plans

  • Buckko says 2 months ago Saric is basically a point forward/stretch 4. Definitely great value for a 12th pick. Interesting factoid about embiid, he would always watch videos of Hakeem before games. He doesn't have the Dream's balance and finess, but Hakeem wasn't 7'1", with a 7'6" wingspan and that skilled offensively at that age. Noel is basically one of the best defensive players to ever come out of college. I'm keeping my eye on the 76ers and, the bucks if they draft Mudiay as possibly the next OKCs growing in the east.
  • Steven says 2 months ago And the foreign winger they will bring over in two years, Saric I think.
  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    Check out the Sixers' salary situation. Definitely not the usual stuff going on here. LINK

    Like you said, Buckko, if those two guys end up being healthy then Philly is going to get very good very fast. They've got scorers and those two will close the paint down.

  • Buckko says 2 months ago

    Have to admit I'm curious to see how embiid and Noel turn out. If healthy both are by far the best players out of their respective draft class.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @JG

    the scene from Bruce Almighty is my favorite part :lol:I agree the spurs tank their way to the foundation that set up this run they have had. Philly's plan is to do exactly the same thing and so far they are right on schedule. however I think some people forget there is more than one way to skin a cat. championships require certain ingredients and no matter how you acquire them all that matters is the fact you did acquire them. I respect what SA built too, but it's not the only blueprint..........far from it. what SA built requires time and patience in addition to a little luck. also I don't know if today's star players will humble themselves in the way Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have. they have been on board with SA's plan from the beginning. without their cooperation at various points along the way a match would have destroyed the plan long ago. so those who think you can just snap your fingers and you got SA's plan have deceived themselves. we didn't use SA's plan yet we are very near the required ingredients needed to win a championship with a team that could contend for some years to come and we did it all without tanking to get it done.........credit to Morey

  • Steven says 2 months ago Think the Spurs will go with co-Ed showers this year?
  • Buckko says 2 months ago

    Well they did get the spurs development coach.

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    Yeah we should be more like the Sixers. Forget SA as a blueprint.

    It's easy. Just draft one of the top players of all time and make sure he avoids any major injuries throughout his career. Have an elite GM who ends up being the best coach in the league. Draft an elite PG. Draft an elite wing scorer who is fine playing the 6th man. Convince them that they want to live in Houston for their entire careers and that an HEB endorsement deal will suffice since money is not their main concern. Enjoy a 15+ year window in which they can compete for championships. Piece of cake.

    By the way, SA tanked their way to Tim Duncan so maybe the Sixers blueprint is the Spurs blueprint....

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago Yeah we should be more like the Sixers. Forget SA as a blueprint.
  • YaoMan says 2 months ago

    Long story short--I will likely never lend much credence to DRPM or Ortng/Drtng. That doesn't mean people are not free to use them. Heck, people still use Bleacher Report :lol:.

    Yeah I never believed the ranking of players by any statistics but just thought it would be a good jest for the issue we mentioned about Bev being overrated by people who haven't watched him play!

    We should be more like San Antonio

    San Antonio, San Antonio, San Antonio...

    San Antonio

    On the subject of San Antonio, is it alright to like their players and coaches but have absolute disdain for their organization? :lol:

  • YaoMan says 2 months ago

    Basic two year review.

    Lin great/Lin sucks

    McHale great/ McHale sucks

    Harden great/ Harden sucks

    Numbers numbers numbers

    Canaan Truthers

    Morey great/ Morey sucks

    More numbers numbers numbers

    Lin sucks

    So everyone's great and then everyone sucks too! Great! LOL

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    You forgot some....

    We should be more like San Antonio

    We need better free agents

    We should develop our own guys

    We should trade everyone

    We shouldn't trade anyone

    We should be more like San Antonio

    San Antonio, San Antonio, San Antonio...

    epic-fail-photos-steve-carell-bruce-almi

    San Antonio

  • Steven says 2 months ago Basic two year review.

    Lin great/Lin sucks

    McHale great/ McHale sucks

    Harden great/ Harden sucks

    Numbers numbers numbers

    Canaan Truthers

    Morey great/ Morey sucks

    More numbers numbers numbers

    Lin sucks
  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    That is a post carried out with thoughtfulness and respect. Thanks JG. This is one of the reasons I joined this forum and appreciate it.

    And although I try to read yours, RBF, TTDN, and many others' older posts, it is hard to gauge all your opinions of certain metrics and such because there is so much to read!!!! And sometimes I'll read an old thread and end up laughing or shaking my head or agreeing or something to the point where I forgot to peruse through the rest of the forums I meant to catch up on.

    BTW, for people to believe that Bev is not a solid defender, well then, they haven't watched the games very well! Could this be the time I can point to the DRPM? :)

    :lol: Sure, point all you want. I would still remind you that I think it is a pretty weak stat to support your stance. :P

    It's true that the volumes of reading required to catch up on just the last two years' worth of conversation would require a month long hiatus from working and probably only sleeping 4 hours a night. :wacko:

    RAPM, at its core, is still a team statistic just like Ortg, Drtg, and +/-. Of all of those I prefer +/- because it has not been fiddled with. It is the most black and white statistic of the group. It's not an estimate. It's not manipulated beyond recognition. And it is not presented as a ranking or type of player relativity. +/- has its own flaws. It can't be helped if you are playing Center for 4 minutes and all of a sudden Steph Curry uncorks 12 unanswered points on outside jumpers against your team and then you get subbed back out. All the box score shows is that you are -12. So, without watching the games none of these stats are useful, but that should go without saying. At least you can look at the play-by-play to see how it all went down.

    From there, +/- can be given context through knowledge, understanding, and observation. For instance, Kosta Koufos is likely a huge benficiary from playing on a team full of defensive specialists that play at a slower than average pace. Imagine playing alongside Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, and even Jarryd Bayless (before the trade) is pretty good on that end. Koufos' job was pretty easy especially considering there are not many offensively gifted centers in the league to contend with.

    So, what does DRPM tell me about Koufos? Not a single thing that I already did not know. He was a good fit for the role he was in. Is he a top 40 defender in this league? I'm sure his agent is telling management that, but nobody else is buying it.

    It also should be mentioned that for 3/4 of the season he was coming off the bench (meaning playing against even more inferior offensive players).

    Joakim Noah was 14th in DRPM last season. He was voted Defensive Player of the Year. Tiago Splitter was ranked ahead of him at #9. Am I the only one that has a problem with this? Ryan Hollins is ranked #15....11 spots ahead of his team mate DeAndre Jordan at #26....who starts ahead of him and was in contention for DPOY as well.

    The top 40 is littered with bench players--another sign that quality of competition is not being factored properly. Hasheem Thabeet is #24!!!! :o Did you know that on a per36 basis Thabeet commits 8.8 fouls per game and on a per100 possession basis he commits 12.3 fouls per game? :lol: Where is that little tidbit factored in??? (For comparison, Dwight Howard averages 3.6 fouls per 36 and 5.0 fouls per 100p)

    Long story short--I will likely never lend much credence to DRPM or Ortng/Drtng. That doesn't mean people are not free to use them. Heck, people still use Bleacher Report :lol:.

  • YaoMan says 2 months ago

    @Yaoman

    I was not slamming you for using RAPM. It was not personal and should not be taken that way--sorry if it came across differently. Prior to you joining this forum, long, drawn out discussions on RAPM occurred and, ultimately, some decided they liked it and some (like myself) did not. As my post said, it is fine to use it. I simply suggested using caution due to the nature of the metric. Like it or not, that stat is little more than smoke and mirrors.

    It's mathematical wizardry that, ultimately, adds very little value or understanding to any discussion. Yes, it is fancy and there are baesian regressions, adjustments, weighting, and a slew of other number manipulations (they also keep parts of it secret--for proprietary reasons--because to them it is about making money not sharing information). By the time they are done it's more about math then player evaluation. They did an amazing job of crunching numbers, but missed the mark with their ultimate goal in my estimation. They use height as a factor. Freakin' height! :huh: Think about that....

    I see that your post has garnered some popular support. To everybody, opinion is not being stifled here. Observation is not being stifled. Nobody is being stifled. People are missing the point. Support your assertions because they are going to get questioned. Support your assertions because it makes for better reading. Support your assertions because it creates better understanding. Don't presume that providing support protects you from scrutiny. This is how we gain deeper understandings.

    We all speculate around here. It is a tenet of this site to always remember to discern between speculation and fact. That is all that was ever called into question. It is a grey area at times. Some people are reacting as if they can no longer post for fear of being told they are wrong. I'm sorry, but that's how things work around here. We are not here to affirm each other's opinions.

    It should be noted that Patrick Beverley, who garnered a solid DRPM, is believed by tons of people to be a terrible defender who, by the eye test and statistically, is as over-rated as they come. If we were in a thread discussing his defense, and someone used that DRPM to support their point, it would be equally fallible as it is with Harden.

    According to Mark Jackson, Steph Curry is a very good defender. DRPM says the exact opposite. What do we believe? A number or a hall of fame player? One of them is wrong.

    The point is, my post about DRPM was not about discrediting your perspective nor stifling your right to opine--I mostly agree with you and I do appreciate the quality of your post. It is simply my opinion on the matter and I invite everyone to make their own decision after researching what the stat is and is not (which is why I included the link to hickory high--a respected b-ball site). It is presented as aface value stat, but it is far, far from it.

    That is a post carried out with thoughtfulness and respect. Thanks JG. This is one of the reasons I joined this forum and appreciate it.

    And although I try to read yours, RBF, TTDN, and many others' older posts, it is hard to gauge all your opinions of certain metrics and such because there is so much to read!!!! And sometimes I'll read an old thread and end up laughing or shaking my head or agreeing or something to the point where I forgot to peruse through the rest of the forums I meant to catch up on.

    BTW, for people to believe that Bev is not a solid defender, well then, they haven't watched the games very well! Could this be the time I can point to the DRPM? :)

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    @Yaoman

    I was not slamming you for using RAPM. It was not personal and should not be taken that way--sorry if it came across differently. Prior to you joining this forum, long, drawn out discussions on RAPM occurred and, ultimately, some decided they liked it and some (like myself) did not. As my post said, it is fine to use it. I simply suggested using caution due to the nature of the metric. Like it or not, that stat is little more than smoke and mirrors.

    It's mathematical wizardry that, ultimately, adds very little value or understanding to any discussion. Yes, it is fancy and there are baesian regressions, adjustments, weighting, and a slew of other number manipulations (they also keep parts of it secret--for proprietary reasons--because to them it is about making money not sharing information). By the time they are done it's more about math then player evaluation. They did an amazing job of crunching numbers, but missed the mark with their ultimate goal in my estimation. They use height as a factor. Freakin' height! :huh: Think about that....

    I see that your post has garnered some popular support. To everybody, opinion is not being stifled here. Observation is not being stifled. Nobody is being stifled. People are missing the point. Support your assertions because they are going to get questioned. Support your assertions because it makes for better reading. Support your assertions because it creates better understanding. Don't presume that providing support protects you from scrutiny. This is how we gain deeper understandings.

    We all speculate around here. It is a tenet of this site to always remember to discern between speculation and fact. That is all that was ever called into question. It is a grey area at times. Some people are reacting as if they can no longer post for fear of being told they are wrong. I'm sorry, but that's how things work around here. We are not here to affirm each other's opinions.

    It should be noted that Patrick Beverley, who garnered a solid DRPM, is believed by tons of people to be a terrible defender who, by the eye test and statistically, is as over-rated as they come. If we were in a thread discussing his defense, and someone used that DRPM to support their point, it would be equally fallible as it is with Harden.

    According to Mark Jackson, Steph Curry is a very good defender. DRPM says the exact opposite. What do we believe? A number or a hall of fame player? One of them is wrong.

    The point is, my post about DRPM was not about discrediting your perspective nor stifling your right to opine--I mostly agree with you and I do appreciate the quality of your post. It is simply my opinion on the matter and I invite everyone to make their own decision after researching what the stat is and is not (which is why I included the link to hickory high--a respected b-ball site). It is presented as aface value stat, but it is far, far from it.

  • YaoMan says 2 months ago

    ....Jimmer Fredette is dead last :lol:

    By the way, Jimmer Fredette being last in any kind of defensive metrics or statistics wouldn't surprise me in the least!!! :P

  • YaoMan says 2 months ago

    So, RAPM is back, huh? :lol:

    I realize this is ESPN's own fancy version of it, but in the fine print at the bottom of the page, they credit the RAPM guy for the vast majority of it.

    Here is a must read from Hickory High if people are going to make any assertions using this statistic. LINK

    It simply cannot be used in the same way as a basic stat like "points" or "rebounds".

    I mean, pardon me for pointing out that Larry Sanders is #2 in DRPM (because it is way over-inflated from the previous season's stats)

    Or that only one player in the top 40 for DRPM is a guard (the coveted Eric Bledsoe). Draymond Green plays PF (despite his SF listing). Allen and Green both play SF when they are on the court. That's still a total of 5 players in the top 40 (Paul freakin' Pierce made the top 40!!!) who aren't PF's or Centers. I'm pretty sure that's not how it works in real life.

    Hey, if you want me to believe that Kosta Koufos is a better defender than Paul George go right ahead and try...according to DRPM he is. He is also better than Kawhi Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu (who only brings defense to the table), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (the same), Chris Paul, Thabo Sefolosha, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, and Zach Randolph--and that's just some of the top 120.

    This is still a team statistic--they have tried to isolate it down to one player but that is impossible and misleading when they claim to have done it. The numbers are jiggered and figured until they fit a pre-conceived ideal. In case anyone forgot--I have no love for this metric. :lol:

    I find a simple "on-off" stat to be much more telling. than these contrived "figures" that somehow purport to rank players all willy-nilly. The longer one looks at that list the less sense it will make. For every player that fits in with the "eye test" another one pops up where the eye test makes you think an orangutan is crunching the numbers.

    Check out Harden's on-off from basketball reference: LINK Notice that Harden being on the court is a plus defensively except for Ortg which barely moves from 106.2 to 106.0.

    Keep in mind that I am not saying Harden was a great defender last season, but let's be realistic. I'd like to point out that our own D-Mo scored a positive DRPM of .53 putting him 5 spots ahead of Francisco Garcia. Hmmm, what else is there to see? Nic Batum is ranked #283 on defense....a little suspect. Wes Matthews is #296...also suspect. Terrence Jones rolls in at #360. Rajon Rondo is next at #361 :unsure: There's Damian Lillard at #368....Jimmer Fredette is dead last :lol:

    I'm not trying to stifle anyone--just want people to be educated on this stat and to use caution when wielding it. To me, the RPM stats have more negatives than positives and, ultimately, are poor indicators of relative performance.

    This is a team game and it may be fun to evaluate individual performance, but I will always prefer team dynamics. One last note--Harden needs to improve his defense--team defense!. B)

    I never said that the DRPM (or RPM) is a end all, be all statistic. I'm not an advanced statistician but if you have the sufficient data to completely debunk ESPN's formula, I say put that together and get paid! :lol:

    I don't think the metric tells you which player is better than another like saying Koufas is better than George is defensively. I think it measures the point differential impact for player's on court time filtering many statistics within it and the defensive scoring ratio based on a number of factors in their metrics. Perhaps, Koufas presence in a game reduces the percentage and number of close shots at the rim that are measurable and quantifiable. What is not measurable is the hounding presence that George can present on an offensive player which makes that player pass to another option or run another offensive set. How do you measure that? By watching the game, of course! But everyone absolutely wanted to behead Rahat for using his judgment when watching the games. There are intangibles that do account for a lot of things that cannot be measured or quantified as we all know.

    So given that I am using a measurable stat (fallible, it may be) to state that Harden just needs to give effort on his D. I've watched him D up players in OKC and believe he is better than average when he tries. It's what Rahat was seeing in the "eye test" like when he cheats to the middle of the lane, and loses his man completely for a lay up or open jumper that's egregious.

    Whether ESPN's metric is completely off or not, I think the point was about the "eye" test because I'm pretty sure that everyone was saying that the eye test (body language) says absolutely nothing and is not a stat or anything tangible that can be proven or disproven. And even that matters very little to me - what I'm saying is that for all the knocks Harden has, which every star in this league has, his greatness is there. My point is if his defensive effort is there (and I know he can D-up), no metric or stat would matter as the wins would take care of themselves and this team will be better. That's when I think he will ascend to super stardom.

    I will say this when reading the thread, a lot of talk saying that using no stats or proof to back something up and basing an opinion from just watching someone made people upset. Yet when I bring up a stat that I'm sure a group of statisticians came up with that is being used by the single largest sports media in the world, I kind of got slammed for bringing it up. And no where in my post did I say I adamantly believed its rating. I just said Beverly, Asik (when he was on the court) and Howard all showed up high and we can see how their defensive presence makes a difference when watching the game and some of that is quantifiable (and some are not). All this suggests (see how I said suggests :) ) is that when watching the game and using any form of quantifiable statistics, Harden's D is less than desirable. There's no doubt in my mind if Harden takes just a bit off his offense and puts in 50% more defensive effort (team defense would be great!), they will surprise many of the naysayers wrong. If he is the leader (you know because he's the cornerstone ;) ), he must then lead by example.

  • Losthief says 2 months ago

    Off with his head!

    off-with-his-head-o.gif

  • rocketrick says 2 months ago It totally sucks as a Rockets fan. Harden hasn't delivered the NBA Finals Trophy and he's had more than ample time and opportunity the (nearly) 2 years he has been a Rocket.

    Off with his head!
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @Rahat

    I understand and agree with some of your critical view of Harden. my point is I think you went to far in assessing his faults. I don't give much credit to rumors from other teams and body language so for you to use them in support of a behavioral pattern was overboard. IMO quitting is a character issue. before I go on record attacking a man character I need more concrete evidence than rumors and body language. that wasmy only reservation in reading your article. YES Harden should have critical review like everybody else, but like I said in previous post, we must not lose context because of our own frustrationwith him

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    So, RAPM is back, huh? :lol:

    I realize this is ESPN's own fancy version of it, but in the fine print at the bottom of the page, they credit the RAPM guy for the vast majority of it.

    Here is a must read from Hickory High if people are going to make any assertions using this statistic. LINK

    It simply cannot be used in the same way as a basic stat like "points" or "rebounds".

    I mean, pardon me for pointing out that Larry Sanders is #2 in DRPM (because it is way over-inflated from the previous season's stats)

    Or that only one player in the top 40 for DRPM is a guard (the coveted Eric Bledsoe). Draymond Green plays PF (despite his SF listing). Allen and Green both play SF when they are on the court. That's still a total of 5 players in the top 40 (Paul freakin' Pierce made the top 40!!!) who aren't PF's or Centers. I'm pretty sure that's not how it works in real life.

    Hey, if you want me to believe that Kosta Koufos is a better defender than Paul George go right ahead and try...according to DRPM he is. He is also better than Kawhi Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu (who only brings defense to the table), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (the same), Chris Paul, Thabo Sefolosha, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, and Zach Randolph--and that's just some of the top 120.

    This is still a team statistic--they have tried to isolate it down to one player but that is impossible and misleading when they claim to have done it. The numbers are jiggered and figured until they fit a pre-conceived ideal. In case anyone forgot--I have no love for this metric. :lol:

    I find a simple "on-off" stat to be much more telling. than these contrived "figures" that somehow purport to rank players all willy-nilly. The longer one looks at that list the less sense it will make. For every player that fits in with the "eye test" another one pops up where the eye test makes you think an orangutan is crunching the numbers.

    Check out Harden's on-off from basketball reference: LINK Notice that Harden being on the court is a plus defensively except for Ortg which barely moves from 106.2 to 106.0.

    Keep in mind that I am not saying Harden was a great defender last season, but let's be realistic. I'd like to point out that our own D-Mo scored a positive DRPM of .53 putting him 5 spots ahead of Francisco Garcia. Hmmm, what else is there to see? Nic Batum is ranked #283 on defense....a little suspect. Wes Matthews is #296...also suspect. Terrence Jones rolls in at #360. Rajon Rondo is next at #361 :unsure: There's Damian Lillard at #368....Jimmer Fredette is dead last :lol:

    I'm not trying to stifle anyone--just want people to be educated on this stat and to use caution when wielding it. To me, the RPM stats have more negatives than positives and, ultimately, are poor indicators of relative performance.

    This is a team game and it may be fun to evaluate individual performance, but I will always prefer team dynamics. One last note--Harden needs to improve his defense--team defense!. B)

  • YaoMan says 2 months ago

    So for the most part, I agree with Rahat. His opinion of body language (Harden's) is, of course, his (Rahat's opinion). However, Harden's atrocious defense cannot be excused in any sense of the meaning.

    According to ESPN's Real Plus Minus or RPM for short, James Harden's Defensive RPM rating is -2.84 which is 397th out of 437. I mean come on - the Rockets' super star player is close to last among all players in the entire NBA in this category. You really can't be a superstar or on an all NBA team when you're that bad on defense. I think it's do or die time for him to show that he can play defense and that he's not in the bottom tenth in the whole league in Defensive RPM. Even if his effort is there, this number will change and extra wins will come.

    On the flip side Howard is number 6 in DRPM (Asik was ranked right behind him at number 7) and Bev is the Rocket's highest total RPM at 4.27 for #20th in the league with Howard's 4.24 being #22 overall. Harden is ranked #45 even with his near bottom defensive rating. Just imagine, if he would bring his defensive RPM to a -1 or just even. He really wouldn't need to score as much or make a miracle shot against WAS or have O'neal goal tend a 3pt shot at the buzzer and Lillard's 3 at the buzzer wouldn't have mattered.

    I see that as the biggest gripe with Harden. While I agree with Rahat's points, the only thing that matters to me as far as James Harden is concerned (because he cancels out a lot of his negatives with his positives) is putting forth effort on D. If he does that this coming season, all bets are off and Rockets can go deep.

  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago

    Well that is just patently false....

    Oh bladad, you're so sensitive.


    I also didn't underline any words though you decided to edit what I wrote, pretty funny.
  • Cooper says 2 months ago

    Lebron has apparently lost a lot of weight this offseason so maybe he was a little out of shape, plus 4 years of 100 game seasons with title or bust expectations is hard to compare to Harden.

  • txtdo1411 says 2 months ago

    His one failing in an otherwise stellar season. And for the record, I wasn't sitting here ragging on his fitness. I was refuting another post's pointless and erroneous argument. The level of energy necessary to play both sides of the court at an all star level =/= the level of energy playing the offensive side of the ball. Anybody who has ever played basketball at a competitive level before knows that playing great defense on the opposing team's best player will always be more taxing than scoring the ball.

    Fair enough. I still don't have a problem with Wilk's post, and don't understand where he was trying to muddle facts.

    I don't know if you watched many Miami games last year. Lebron's defense was not that great last season, and he took plays off just like any other player. He was also "huffing and puffing" late in games (as every player I've ever seen giving it his all do). We all know Harden's defensive stats. He gave up a 53.8% fg % at the rim with 1.3 fgm on 2.3 fga. Awful I know! Lebron with his shutdown defense allowed 51.9 % with 1.4 fgm on 2.8 fga.

    I know you will write it off as guarding the best player etc., but he did not always guard the best offensive player. He might switch onto him the last two minutes or what not, but not the entire game. The Heat and probably Lebron himself didn't want him going balls to the wall all game defensively, because they knew he had to shoulder the offensive load... hmmm sounds awfully familiar. The Heat also played at a slow pace, where we were a faster paced team so theoretically our players should get tired quicker.

    The whole point of this post is not to knock Lebron or even try to compare Harden to Lebron defensively. I would never argue that. My point is to judge or criticize these elite athletes because they are breathing hard at the end of game they likely played 40 mins. in is ridiculous. That is all.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago I consider myself to be intelligent and don't believe things just because they're said . I also happen to think that Rahat wrote an editorial piece that was his opinion and anyone with half a brain understood that it was his opinion.

    If you have such a poor view of the readers/commenters on this board and view them as sheep then why come here? That's my only problem with this debate so far. I understand that others read the situation with Harden completely differently since there's no evidence to back up either side conclusively.
  • bladad says 2 months ago

    I never saw Harden pull himself out of a game in the Finals from exhaustion either. Can you imagine the amount of flak Harden would've gotten for that? You can't sit here and rag on a guy about being out of shape when he played the 5th most minutes in the league while continuing to power our offense. You can harp on "well he doesn't play defense" all you want, but last I checked he doesn't just stand still and let his man score every time. If he did that we would've been nowhere near 54 wins. He exerts energy on that end, but you can't see what you don't want to see.

    His one failing in an otherwise stellar season. And for the record, I wasn't sitting here ragging on his fitness. I was refuting another post's pointless and erroneous argument. The level of energy necessary to play both sides of the court at an all star level =/= the level of energy playing the offensive side of the ball. Anybody who has ever played basketball at a competitive level before knows that playing great defense on the opposing team's best player will always be more taxing than scoring the ball.

  • Alituro says 2 months ago

    My only peeve in this post:

    In hindsight, its even more alarming looking back.

    LINK :lol:

    Seriously though, I think Harden's body language is just as misread as T-mac's was. Only he knows what motivates him, and if we're having a tough game and he sinks a shot and follows it with the scowl, no need to berate or judge him for it. To me he's pumping himself up. I have no doubt in my mind that his goal is to win, and that's about all we can ask of him as fans. Not to actually win, but to have the desire to do so.

    As far as JG's criticism of this post: I think now that Rahat's all "lawyered-up" it has become a professional habit for him to present opinions in such a matter that those reading accept it as fact. After all, it's his job (other than chief at Red94). If he was to rewrite the same post, and instead hammered home the idea that it was only an opinion with language like: "It's my opinion that Harden's body language..." Then he would be effectively undoing everything he learned about presenting arguments in Law School. I think the most compelling thing about this forum is that it strikes a nice balance between facts and opinions, and we generally respect other's opinions even if we don't agree. If it were only facts, charts and stats it would be boring and basically just a circle jerk. At the same time, if it were nothing but emotional spouting-off (like some forums), it would be just as annoying. As fans, we are emotional by nature and if something doesn't pass someone's "eye test" here, there is no reason they shouldn't voice that concern regardless of if it's backed by facts. If you agree or disagree, then respond. If you just simply don't like that an opinion has been posted, then move on to a post of your liking. Simple. Next, someone will ask for disclaimers on comments whether they are factual or opinions. (and the mice will scatter)

  • txtdo1411 says 2 months ago

    Yeah, but Lebron is an All NBA Defender and works hard on the defensive end, usually playing the role of the lockdown defender on the other team's best player. Playing both sides of the ball will tend to exhaust you compared to watching guys drive past you regularly with what seems like tacit approval. So that "fitness" statement is false. He gives you more offensively and a sht ton more defensively than Harden does in fewer minutes. Don't muddle the facts.

    Well that is just patently false....

    I never saw Harden pull himself out of a game in the Finals from exhaustion either. Can you imagine the amount of flak Harden would've gotten for that? You can't sit here and rag on a guy about being out of shape when he played the 5th most minutes in the league while continuing to power our offense. You can harp on "well he doesn't play defense" all you want, but last I checked he doesn't just stand still and let his man score every time. If he did that we would've been nowhere near 54 wins. He exerts energy on that end, but you can't see what you don't want to see.

  • bladad says 2 months ago

    JG - I personally do not think you were too hard on Rahat. I agree that there should be some facts behind what you decide to write.

    Rahat claims Harden was out of shape & huffing & puffing at the end of games. Well, Harden averaged the 5th highest minutes per game this past season. Maybe he played too many minutes and that is what caused his "huffing & puffing." Lebron was 6th in minutes and I saw him huffing and puffing at times too, maybe he was out of shape.

    Yeah, but Lebron is an All NBA Defender and works hard on the defensive end, usually playing the role of the lockdown defender on the other team's best player. Playing both sides of the ball will tend to exhaust you compared to watching guys drive past you regularly with what seems like tacit approval. So that "fitness" statement is false. He gives you more offensively and a sht ton more defensively than Harden does in fewer minutes. Don't muddle the facts.

    I'm more on the side of johnnygold, rockets best fan and Buckko but I respect all the opinions here.

    Well that is just patently false....

  • Red94 says 2 months ago

    @thenit

    I have been critical of Harden myself, but where is the line in reasonable criticism and piling on unjust dirt to help validate other points. we are all in agreement Harden needs to improve, but usingOUR frustration of OUR expectations of him to label himbecause he's not as developed as we would like is unjust. which one of you had your sh** together when you were 25? Harden is developing as a player and a man. sometime you don't have all the answers when your 25. problem is he's learning how to be both in the limelight of the NBA. so while he does deserve criticalreviewwe must not lose context of the situation

    This post in its entirety is kind of the entire point I was trying to make. He doesn't have his sh*t together, but that's ok...no one does. I feel he has flaws, but I don't think they are irredeemable. And even if he is flawed, that isn't prohibitive to being great (look at Kobe). But despite all of that, I think we can all agree he needs to start trying on defense.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    I never realized this Forum had so many body language readingprofessionals :lol:

  • QNoir says 2 months ago

    I do want to say this, body-language-wise. I did see Harden have three horrible quarters and make the extemporaneous "nasty" "I'm a bad man" face after sinking one while the team is still losing, instead of getting back on defense. I wanted to scream after seeing that. Popovich would sit his ass down, lol. I don't feel like looking up which game it was, but you guys saw it too. Just may not have judged it the same way. It was a prime illustration of the "selfish" criticism.

  • QNoir says 2 months ago

    There's all this talk about how he's only 25. When it comes to his personal life, I agree. Who cares if he enjoys the occasional lapdance. But when it comes to basketball, 25 years is far more than enough time to learn appropriate team behavior. These players go through the issues with losing and getting shut down or having bad offensive games or not being the top dog in college ... high school ... heck, in their moms' minivans. When it comes to waiting for entertainers to mature, you can be waiting a long time. I was surprised Mo Williams is 30 acting childish to rookies.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    I agree Buckko............great post Willk

  • Buckko says 2 months ago Great points Willk.
  • Willk says 2 months ago

    JG - I personally do not think you were too hard on Rahat. I agree that there should be some facts behind what you decide to write.

    Rahat claims Harden was out of shape & huffing & puffing at the end of games. Well, Harden averaged the 5th highest minutes per game this past season. Maybe he played too many minutes and that is what caused his "huffing & puffing." Lebron was 6th in minutes and I saw him huffing and puffing at times too, maybe he was out of shape.

    Rahat also claims Harden was disinterested in huddles. How much of a huddle is shown on TV? Anything tactical is not allowed to be shown on TV, only the rah-rah stuff is. So are we basing our opinions on the 5 seconds of the huddle that does not matter?

    Apparently, OKC traded Harden because he was too selfish. Would he still be best of friends with Durant & Westbrook if he only cared about his touches? Would they not be happy Harden is gone if he was such a malcontent? Apparently they talk regularly and unless Durant isliar, Durant has said he wants to play withHarden again. Where are Rahat's sources on this?

    I have not always agreed with Rahat (and I have accused Rahat of trying to run Harden out of town when he was on a more Lin less Harden rant). I think this article could have beenmore factual and less emotional andthere is nothing wrong with pointing this out.

  • Willk says 2 months ago

    I'm more on the side of johnnygold, rockets best fan and Buckko but I respect all the opinions here. I also don't believe I have seen Harden ever quit on this team but surely there fans that believe he has at some point. I do believe reading body language doesn't always yield reliable results especially in Harden's case. That is not a good window into Harden and what makes him go.

    Only time will tell and if he stays healthy the good news is James Harden has a long time.

    FSS - I agree with what you wrote here especially the last line about health. I wonder if Rahat remembers all of the injuries Harden suffered throughout the year. Does he remember the scary injury that Harden suffered in the final preseason game against Memphis? I thought he was done for the season initially. How many times did Harden role his ankle on drives this year with the most severe being against the Kings where he shot free throws on one foot. I personally thought Harden should have been held out of a few more games this past season to get healthier, but I respect Harden's will to play injured(and not to blame injuries for any poor play). I think this says more than anything you can glean from his body language.

  • feelingsupersonic says 2 months ago

    I'm more on the side of johnnygold, rockets best fan and Buckko but I respect all the opinions here. I also don't believe I have seen Harden ever quit on this team but surely there fans that believe he has at some point. I do believe reading body language doesn't always yield reliable results especially in Harden's case. That is not a good window into Harden and what makes him go.

    As far as the playoff game in question I also agree with rockets best fan's analysis. Harden was also part of that success Howard had as Harden was feeding him quite well. I have rewatched regular season and playoff games since the season ended and I see over the top criticism that conveniently ignores the full view of Harden the player much too often.

    And don't give me that lame argument that I am some person who is against criticizing because I am not. I do believe Harden does need to step up his defense and I do believe that the genius basketball DNA he exhibits on the offensive end should be pushed to see, impose and control games from basket to basket. I am realistic though because I can see we are splitting hairs about a guy who could settle for being a perennial First Team All NBA Guard or he could push himself and win championships and pick up an MVP trophy.

    Only time will tell and if he stays healthy the good news is James Harden has a long time.

  • thenit says 2 months ago @JG

    I realized you were venting and you have to deal with a lot of people. 99 times of 100 you will post insightful opinion and data even if people don't agree you enhance the discussion that's my experience on this forum.

    @RBF

    I know you don't pull punches as in mchale lol so I know where you are coming from. Maybe my deep desire for a championship as a fan of the rockets for the first time sometimes makes me demand so much from our best player. I wasn't old enough and interested enough in basktetball last time we won. We want the same thing and I don't think we are that far apart regarding harden.
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @thenit

    I have expectations for him too. that's why I used OUR. however sometimes I have to take a step back from those expectations for a reality check. I need tolook at the critical review in the proper context. you know I am the last one to accept excuses for faults, but losing objectivity if you are only willing to view one side of the picture can happen if you allow emotions to skew your view. I get frustrated with Harden sometimes too. however allowing that to warp the way you view him would be viewing him out of context

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    OK, so once again I am reminded I should not post before coffee. :lol:

    Yes, my post was a bit stronger than I intended. Let me elaborate a bit and respond to a few things. RBF has touched on quite a few and pretty much understands where I'm coming from. Still, there are things I need to acknowledge.

    This post is directly related to yesterday's back and forth between Datruth and myself (I mistakenly said Jatman this morning--again with the lack of coffee). I presume most everyone read that, but if not it starts here and you can follow it along if you want.

    We have not harped on Red94 standards for some time now--those who have been around a while can recall when not a week would go by without reminders. One of the standards of Red94 is to back up your assertions with facts, cite your sources, and try to avoid speculation--if one does speculate it is fine, but acknowledge it as such--too often these days it gets presented as fact. That's not what we do.

    So, yesterday I found myself trying to deal with this sort of issue and woke up today to find that everything I had chided Datruth for was squarely in Rahat's article. Did I find that frustrating? You betcha! :lol: I certainly vented a bit and apologize for the harshness of it. Yet, here I sit with a double standard in hand. It's cool. I can adjust. If this is the direction we are headed then so be it. It's not like many were adhering to the core standards all that much.

    The idea was to have a special place that, unlike most of the others, rose above the norms of profanity, absurdity, abusive posts, absurd emotional rants, and all the other stuff that can be found encasing the occasional quality posts that can be found. A forum that was fun to read, informative, and thought-provoking was the ideal and for a long time that was (mostly) what we had.

    These days, I feel like I am trapped in the mind of a self-loathing perfectionist when I read a lot of the posts here. Nothing is good enough and the cure is more self-berating. I'm sorry if that offends--and it is not directed at all--but it does fit a lot.

    Honestly, I don't know where we stand on this issue now, but if this is the direction people want to go then so be it. Let's go.

    So, now to address a few other things.

    I did read the entirety of Rahat's article and I realize he paid plenty of compliments. Again, my ire was directed at the quoted section in my post which undermined the very thing I was fighting for yesterday. I'm not saying Rahat hates Harden or wants him traded. I was using hyperbole to paint a picture--often, it isn't that much of an exaggeration. Obviously, my meaning was lost a bit and that is my fault.

    Possibly the thing that concerns me most is this:

    And your reactions, JG are why most people hesitate to post anything critical of Harden on here.

    Firstly, I'm not sure people are hesitating to post anything critical of Harden; however, if I am preventing earnest discussion then I clearly need to step back. I have always, and repeatedly, stated that people's opinions are of no concern to me--it is the standard of keeping things on the level. That's the thing. Where is the legitimate, creditable validation for any of these claims? James Harden has become a meme unto himself and the mere mention of him elicits pre-conceived beliefs, attitudes, and, worst of all, "truths". I thought it was something we would want to avoid here, but it seems I am incorrect about that.

    I will be muzzling myself. Everything is fair game. You guys go nuts and do not worry about any scolding from me. It wasn't ever meant to be bullying, but I can see how it looks and so I apologize for those who suffered any bullying from me. I was trying to uphold the standards here and failed to do so tactfully.

    In short, I still believe we should uphold the standards of Red94--they may not be what brought most of us here, but are a big reason why we have stayed. Perhaps, like many, you lurked here just reading for a while before finally joining in the discourse. The bottom line is this is supposed to be a high-quality safe space for everyone and if I am contributing to it not feeling safe for people then I am not doing my job correctly.

    Also, in case anyone thinks I am one who thinks Harden is perfect and infallible that is simply not true. Believe it or not, I agree with many of the criticisms levied against him--perhaps not as harshly as some, but I agree.

    Also, I did not mean to imply people were lemmings. It has been my experience that many readers often treat Rahat's words as gospel. Obviously we have lots of smart, knowledgeable readers--this is part of why I fight for the standards--I expect good things from everyone here.

    Thanks for reading and I hope this ends up as water under the bridge sooner than later. Now, let's all get back to what we should be doing--dissecting every aspect of our team :)

  • thenit says 2 months ago

    @RBF

    I'm not sure if you are inferring to me regarding my expectations, but is my expectations is not for him to be perfect but give full effort that's the least you can expect from anyone regardless if you are a toddler or an athlete.We have all seen that he can be a decent defender when he gives 100% so I'm not sure why we as fan can't have that expectations without labeling him.

    Lebron and Kd at this age weren't perfect but they took it upon themselves to work hard on both sides of the floor, they would avoid taking fouls on breakaways etc but they never ever gave less than 100% especially in the playoffs.

    As the off court stuff I don't need any players to be role models etc unless it affects their performance. I never said anything about the off the court stuff because it doen't matter to me.

    There is no perfect player and he is turning 26 and getting into his 6th year, our window is narrow with D12 age. I am glad about that he tried to play D in the USA camp and its a hopeful sign, but I will believe it when I see it in the playoffs this season.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @thenit

    I have been critical of Harden myself, but where is the line in reasonable criticism and piling on unjust dirt to help validate other points. we are all in agreement Harden needs to improve, but usingOUR frustration of OUR expectations of him to label himbecause he's not as developed as we would like is unjust. which one of you had your sh** together when you were 25? Harden is developing as a player and a man. sometime you don't have all the answers when your 25. problem is he's learning how to be both in the limelight of the NBA. so while he does deserve criticalreviewwe must not lose context of the situation

  • thenit says 2 months ago

    I don't know why we can't criticize Harden? I don't think anyone here has called for Harden to get traded or said that he plainly just reeks.

    I've been critical of Harden and sees a lot of the same things as Rahat. I've posted in the Harden threads about this and like I said before except for Lebron and KD there isn't another player I trade Harden for. But in order for us to win we need Harden to elevate himself in the other part of the floor. We keep talking about saving energy and avoiding fouls, I can understand some of those claims in the regular season, but if you can't go all out on both sides of the floor and get attacked by the opposing teams by having Matthews going at you as the gameplan, a star player should take offence to that and shut that guy down.

    I don't think he was awful defensively but he was still not average and when his shots weren't falling in the first few games other great players would have at least try to lead by example in the D department.

    Its not about hating or pushing Harden out of the town, its about us having higher expectations of our best players.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @TTDN

    I'm not pointing out any special person in my lemming comment. I agree this Forum is full of more basketball educated people than just about any Forum I have ever read, but every Forum has it's lemmings. they may not be in abundance here but they exist. there are some in every crowd. in all honesty I agree with a few things Rahat said too. however the way he stepped on Harden in saying he quit on this team and using rumors from Harden's OKC days to validate a pattern of behavior that questions the man's character.............that's overboard to me. I know Harden's faults and could list them here as clearly as any other poster, but I'm not going to use body language and attitude of a man I only see through the eyes of the media in judging his character unless the evidence is overwhelming. I'm not ready tolabel frustration as quitting. that's an overreaction. I remember the game Rahat is talking about, but this is what I saw. I saw Howard step to the forefront to become the leader of this team. he showed the power to will his team to victory. he may have come up short, but a clear pecking order was being established. he was showing a 25 year old star how it's done. yeah Harden may have been ball watching, but so was the rest of the team. D-12 took over. simple as that. forming judgment of the others because they didn't get in D-12's way in his attempt to lead us..........well what can I say?

  • Buckko says 2 months ago I am in agreement with JG.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago I like rahat and agree with some of what he says but this board isn't full of mindless sheep.
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @Cooper

    I don't think that was the jest of JG's point. Rahat is a leader around here. many here follow him like lemmings. they accept his opinion as the gospel. just as he is expressing what he sees JG is saying why he doesn't see that. I agree. I don't see that either. perhaps it's leftover anger from our playoff loss. however painting Harden as some kind of selfish malcontent is overboard. if you want to point to evidence of flaws within his play I can see that, but questioning his character based on rumors and one playoff game? that's overboard. so my post on this subject have been to express that this view isn't shared by me and that's all I believe JG is saying

  • Cooper says 2 months ago

    Well I guess I'm the a-hole. Hard to punish the children for what the parents are doing. Perhaps I missed the memo and didn't realize we were now in the business of transforming opinionated perception into reality. I apologize, Jatman--looks like you are right at home here.

    While you briefly qualify this statement with, "I see a player", the majority of people will read that as, "this is 100% true and irrefutably correct because I am saying it". If I were an opposing attorney I would immediately object for "leading the witness". You began a sentence with "You see how he is...."...Objection, your Honor.

    People will always see what they want to see (and in this case people want to see James Harden as worthless). For myself, I try not to fill in the blanks for others when I am not in position to do so (and none of us are). I don't know about this "quitting on the team" thing that gets thrown around. Unfortunately, I don't have time to find video right now that shows Harden quitting/not quitting in this OT game. If someone else can that would be great. I have yet to see what the fuss is about.

    Out of shape? Huffing and puffing? Disinterestedness? Body language? Seriously? This is our body of evidence? Not a fact to be found anywhere in there--solely supposition. :mellow: Obviously, I am in the majority here. Fine, I will back off and let you all have your fun going back and forth reinforcing each other's love of hating on Harden because he is a fat, selfish, know-it-all, brat. Enjoy.

    A quick thought...I wonder how we would all stack up if our lives were recorded (but only parts of them) and people compared those scenes to the platonic ideals of whatever we were labeled as judging every gesture, action, and facial expression to the nth degree. I wonder how many times we would want to talk to the media after having our words twisted in order to support whatever narrative had been foisted upon our existence. Glass houses, but no shortage of stones.

    Sorry for the dissension. It's just too much. I feel like a bug tossed into a toilet fighting to not get sucked down into the sewer. Sure, James Harden sucks--which is why Morey gave him a max deal, he made 1st team NBA, and will be starting on the USA team while drawing praise from coaches with more cache and respect than I could fit in a U-Haul truck. But we fans are right in seeing that fat slob for what he is. Let's all pat ourselves on the back. :rolleyes:

    I don't see the problem. So he wrote what he sees, how else would you have him write? He can't transplant Hardens brain into his own to write what harden thinks or mchale or morey. You're vehemently defending him based on what you see but just a different view. You cant quantify human personality or body language with numbers or facts its about what you see. Of course if we lived james hardens life theres plenty of things we wouldn't like about the media and goofy folks on message boards but guess what we aren't and if no one was allowed to be criticized only because the person criticizing has faults of there own nothing would change because we'd all be pretending everything is A OK. You're seeing people say harden sucks, that he's worthless ect.. when it isn't here.

  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @TTDN

    I disagree. we talk about Harden's Defense all the time, but trying to make him into some selfish malcontent? Harden is a 25 year old developing player. he is not the finish product he will become. as muchtime asthe media spends tossing dirt on Harden and Howard I would think they could find a little love in their own backyard. Harden has faults........YES, but name a player who doesn't. I agree with JG you see what you want to see. if you see a selfish malcontent defenseless ballhog then you should look again because you missed the first team all NBA guard andtop ten player. don't let emotion factor in on how you view his talent. I bet if we put him on the trade market right now we would have no shortage of suitors and probably from some of the very same areas where the criticism comes from. Harden is a star player.......all stars have egos. his is no bigger than any other star. he's not a bad guy. so why are some painting him to be such? when it comes to problems on this team there are much bigger fish to fry. IMO we will need more talent to win a championship, but not from so much what Harden lacks but from what their coach lacks.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 2 months ago I don't know if Id go as far as rahat did, but at least he's acknowledging there's something there(in his opinion). And your reactions, JG are why most people hesitate to post anything critical of Harden on here.

    The closer look many have given this team with the failure to get a third star and the loss of parsons Asik and Lin, has us seeing that harden needs to improve tremendously to get a championship and as such we are seeing flaws that wouldn't be as important if we had a legit third star.

    I'm almost convinced without more talent or massive improvement from harden(on defense) that we are a first round exit at best.
  • rockets best fan says 2 months ago

    @JG

    I second that. I don't believe I have seen Harden quit on this team. not being involved in plays I see Harden stand around all the time. however because this was a playoff game where D-12 was dominating and Harden was uninvolved we should see it as quitting? I think those that think they see that are reading to much into it. nobody is saying Harden doesn't have his faults, however all players do. don't believe me? read some of the forums connected to other teams and watch how they point out every little flaws of their star players............even Lebron. I can take posters discussing Hardens flaws, but trying to read attitude and body language? I think I will leave that to the professionals. jumping to conclusions in this arena can have you in left field before you know it :lol:

  • Journeymany says 2 months ago

    @JG

    Wow, looks like some dissension in the red94 ranks! ;) Rahat doesn't say anywhere that 'Harden sucks', but you're reacting as though he said he's worthless and should be traded. Read more calmly, and you'll see that Rahat is comparing Harden to MVP level players like Kobe and Pippen, who early in their careers did need to make some changes, did so, and duly achieved greatness.

    Bottom line, Harden is a great player - everyone agrees on that. The question now is 'How great?' Take a chill pill, relax, listen to music, maybe take a forum break for a while like I'm sure most people (including me) are during the offseason :)

  • thejohnnygold says 2 months ago

    Watching this past season, watching James Harden, I see a player who is selfish and not as committed to the team and winning as he is to himself. You see how he is completely out of shape, huffing and puffing late into games when needing to guard an active wing; you see his disinterestedness in the huddles; and worst of all, you see the body language when things don't go his way. When he essentially quit on this team in an overtime loss to Portland in round 1, after Kevin McHale made the call to ride Dwight Howard to the finish line, I remarked that I had never seen anything like it in twenty years as a Rockets fan. In hindsight, its even more alarming looking back.

    Some of you have no doubt recoiled in disbelief over my criticism of Harden.

    Well I guess I'm the a-hole. Hard to punish the children for what the parents are doing. Perhaps I missed the memo and didn't realize we were now in the business of transforming opinionated perception into reality. I apologize, Jatman--looks like you are right at home here.

    While you briefly qualify this statement with, "I see a player", the majority of people will read that as, "this is 100% true and irrefutably correct because I am saying it". If I were an opposing attorney I would immediately object for "leading the witness". You began a sentence with "You see how he is...."...Objection, your Honor.

    People will always see what they want to see (and in this case people want to see James Harden as worthless). For myself, I try not to fill in the blanks for others when I am not in position to do so (and none of us are). I don't know about this "quitting on the team" thing that gets thrown around. Unfortunately, I don't have time to find video right now that shows Harden quitting/not quitting in this OT game. If someone else can that would be great. I have yet to see what the fuss is about.

    Out of shape? Huffing and puffing? Disinterestedness? Body language? Seriously? This is our body of evidence? Not a fact to be found anywhere in there--solely supposition. :mellow: Obviously, I am in the majority here. Fine, I will back off and let you all have your fun going back and forth reinforcing each other's love of hating on Harden because he is a fat, selfish, know-it-all, brat. Enjoy.

    A quick thought...I wonder how we would all stack up if our lives were recorded (but only parts of them) and people compared those scenes to the platonic ideals of whatever we were labeled as judging every gesture, action, and facial expression to the nth degree. I wonder how many times we would want to talk to the media after having our words twisted in order to support whatever narrative had been foisted upon our existence. Glass houses, but no shortage of stones.

    Sorry for the dissension. It's just too much. I feel like a bug tossed into a toilet fighting to not get sucked down into the sewer. Sure, James Harden sucks--which is why Morey gave him a max deal, he made 1st team NBA, and will be starting on the USA team while drawing praise from coaches with more cache and respect than I could fit in a U-Haul truck. But we fans are right in seeing that fat slob for what he is. Let's all pat ourselves on the back. :rolleyes:

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