I try to keep my takes relatively reasonable and grounded, but I can’t keep this one contained any longer: James Harden is really, really, really good at playing basketball. Sorry. That was sitting under the heat lamp in my brain for a little too long. Had to get it to the customers before it became a “health risk.”
Listen, this is kind of the big, semi-fake, semi-straw man debate consuming the NBA these days. Is James Harden, the man who just broke Kobe Bryant’s post-merger consecutive 30-point game record with his 17th (!) straight, fun to watch or is he just gaming the system? Personally, I don’t really understand why it can’t be both. Obviously, he has taken advantage of the NBA’s changing rules and has crafted his game around drawing contact and appearing to draw contact. It’s made him a megastar, and, as such, he gets every call. “He tricks the refs and dribbles the ball forever and jacks 3s and it’s not how the game is played!” you say as you scrape the dried poop off your underwear. Why should he change his game? Why should he stop? He’s completely mastered the modern NBA! This is how the game is played now. 3s, free throws, layups. He gets any of them whenever he wants. He’s totally unstoppable. And oh yeah, he’s a gifted passer, too. Why does he get so much hate? He’s the platonic ideal of a 2019 NBA superstar and one of the ten (if you want to be generous towards the older eras, but really it’s five) best offensive players in league history. Start appreciating him more! He’s finished top two in MVP three of the last four years and would win his second consecutive if the season ended today. Don’t let Harden become the new Carmelo. No, the playoff success isn’t there, but he has to go against the Warriors every year, what do you want from him? The guy’s a special, special player.
Since when is someone absolutely going OFF not fun to watch? The stepback 3s are absolutely ridiculous. There’s no way they should go in but he shoots like 40% on them. Yeah, I guess seeing someone break everyone down off the dribble is pretty boring. Sucked watching A.I. play. Hate guys who throw a million alley-oops. Free throws are the only thing I’m willing to concede, but I love free throws. I love watching guys take a thousand a game. Maybe I just have unconventional tastes
Stop hating and put some respeck on Harden’s name.