James Harden vs. Andre Roberson

This is incredibly concerning.  As outlined above, it appears that James Harden this season is shooting 25.5% overall when defended by Andre Roberson, and 11% on 3’s.

It also appears he has not even made a single field goal in the paint when defended by Roberson.  Its also interesting that Harden’s usage skyrockets to 55.8% with Roberson on the bench, up from 30.4% when sharing the court.

One can understand why I’d be concerned heading into this afternoon’s matchup with the Thunder – Andre Roberson has been a problem for the Rockets when defending James Harden.  My concern does not solely pertain to the game’s outcome itself, but for the ramifications upon the MVP race.  As I’ve stated, I care a lot about this race, surprisingly more than a large segment of my readership.  And we saw after Houston’s loss to San Antonio, highlighted by the game-saving block by Kawhi Leonard (post-Gasol foul) on James Harden, a big portion of the mainstream media suffers collectively from recency bias.  Almost as much as narratives, people like ‘images’, and a big game from Westbrook today could go a long way towards solidifying his dubious MVP claim.  (I, of course, have written at lengths regarding my opinion on the laugh-ability of Westbrook’s candidacy, one built upon the strength of our community’s ’round-number’ fetishization).

I’ve noted several times in the past–an observation which I don’t have the time right now to support empirically–that James Harden almost always seems to figure out defenders who give him trouble, a point which speaks to his overall basketball intelligence.  Despite being the slovenly bum he’s portrayed as, this is someone who obviously spends a great deal of time watching film, and learning from defensive tendencies.  If not today, I expect Harden to eventually figure out Roberson too, the way he has with other individuals.

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

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