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Not to beat this issue to death, but the problems with the Rockets and Harden drew a lot of attention this year.  Here are comments from one of the veterans on the team, Jason Terry a long term vet, who cut to the core

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.” Terry, on the other hand, cut straight through the static and pointed to the frayed partnership between Harden and Howard, who had most likely played his final game with the Rockets.

“They just couldn’t coexist to have success this year,” Terry said. “Chemistry was a big issue for us all year long. We just didn’t have it.”

Not quite sure why I never found Harden's game appealing.  I watched him when he first played for Oklahoma City.  In a lot of ways his game is like that of Manu Ginobelli, a player I've enjoyed watching;  take the ball on the outside, fake a shot and drive or shoot from the outside.  Also pass, and Harden has become far more of a passer.  Mostly what I found so watchable with Ginobelli, I've found sort of ugly with Harden...his drives with the Euro Step.

In any case Harden has caught a lot of blame from across the realm, including that of former Rockets and teammates from this year.  He is controversial.  Howard may have seriously regressed on offense, but there are many who criticize Harden's game.

....and if you are wondering why James Harden is being discussed on a food oriented forum...here is the link to that mystery

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On 6/15/2016 at 2:01 PM, DaveO said:

For those who liked the "Shaqtin' a Fool" Awards (I have no idea what this means, but it makes me laugh), here's the entire compilation for 2015/2016 [I'm not sure what the original video above was, but it no longer exists, so I did the best I could with replacing it - it happens sometimes with YouTube.]:

Harden has arguably been the only player on this forum more-mocked than Carmelo Anthony, but last night he had a uniquely great statistical performance on New Year's Eve, becoming the only NBA player ever to drop a 50-15-15 triple-double, with 53 points, 16 rebounds, and 17 assists - nope, not even The Big O can claim this one:

"Harden is First in History with 50-15-15 Game" on espn.com

The article conveniently neglects to mention that he also had 8 turnovers. Ironically, his performance came against the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, who had an absolutely dreadful evening, with 7 points (on 3-11 shooting), 1 rebound, and 3 assists.

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We were at the game last night, and I'll be the dissenter here and say I think Harden is plenty fun to watch.

(And Don, a few of those turnovers were from long throws down the court on transition when they were up by a ton. To my mind, kind of "fun if you make the play but no biggie if you don't" situations.)

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He is playing great this year.  So many positives.  Admittedly I haven't watched  a game.  Gotta watch games, like Josh  which is how one picks up things like accumulating turnovers at the end when they meant less.  

Shaq a fool one year MVP candidate the next year.  I have no idea abt his defense this yr but with all his offense and the team's record he is obviously playing great and it's all showing.

Appears that the coach has impacted the team in a big way.  Bully for them

Gotta watch them.

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It’s several years later and James Harden won the NBA MVP award.  Deserved.  He had a great season as did his team.  They were mere inches from beating Golden State in the playoffs.  

This article paints the great What if  question.  Several years ago Harden was at Oklahoma City with teammates Westbrook and Durant.  All 3 have now become league MVPs.  It suggests that trio could have been the most talented trio on any team- ever.

Interesting.  Never thought of that.  Were Oklahoma City a major market with big money they might all still be there with some championships.

What if..........

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47 minutes ago, DaveO said:

What if..........

O-ver-RA-ted, clap-clap CLAP-CLAP-CLAP

BUT, those three were arguably the most-talented trio ever - I can't believe they played on the same team.

There's still something "stiff" about Harden's game that fails my eye test. Anyone?

Carmelo Anthony needs to go play #4 next year, and waive his salary, just to win a championship. He'll be better-off in the long run - his career (his HOF career) is over, and he has nothing to lose; everything to gain, by being a championship team's role player.

Clem Haskins popped into mind - I remember him being described, coming off the bench for the Bullets, as "Instant 'O.'"

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13 hours ago, DonRocks said:

There's still something "stiff" about Harden's game that fails my eye test. 

It’s repetitive.  It also overwhelmingly starts from the same place on the floor most of the time.  It’s not only Harden but the way the team plays with the players spreading across the 3 point line so that plays are either 3 pt shots or drives with Hatden being the main driver and nothing else.

Chris Paul did change and mix up that pattern somewhat on overall team play

I’m not a fan of his style either.  But it is hugely effective.  Btw. Harden is big.  He is solid and it shows.  He is the size of Oscar Robertson and can overpower players shorter or not as heavy as him. 

The team was “built”/“designed” to beat Golden State last year. They almost did.  Barring injuries they should be close again next year while their center Capela is a rapidly improving force as a center 

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Large chunks of Harden's offensive production are based on two things that aren't traditionally viewed as aesthetically pleasing, (1) the Euro step (which folks to this day disagree vehemently about whether or not it's a travel) and perhaps most notoriously (2) lots and lots of FTs.

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6 minutes ago, silentbob said:

Large chunks of Harden's offensive production are based on two things that aren't traditionally viewed as aesthetically pleasing, (1) the Euro step (which folks to this day disagree vehemently about whether or not it's a travel) and perhaps most notoriously (2) lots and lots of FTs.

Yes on both accounts.  While many players currently use the Euro Step I associate it with Ginobilli.  Was he the first player in the NBA who used it extensively? When he executes them they are often at the end of plays where his moves are remarkably lateral and "space creating".  He also executes them from a drive from any point on the court.  In his case I find/found them fascinating.  Not always the case with other players who often utilize this move.  Harden is almost always coming down the middle of the court.  That often--it becomes too repetitive.

Harden does draw tons of fouls.  He is its current master.  He draws the calls when its highly debatable.  It too isn't pretty.

Houston makes GREAT use of this though and it made them a killer team.  They are the closest team to Golden State Beaters.  The team is dominated by Harden's contributions.  Look at some of the advanced NBA team stats.

Scroll down to shooting percentages per team and advanced shooting percentages.  Houstons's effective Shooting % was second only to Golden State.  Its because of the overwhelming volume of 3 pointers relative to any other team.  Add in its percentage of foul shots per field goal attempt and high Free Throw percentage---and bingo they became a scoring machine that was closer to Golden State than any other.

The team is modeled on Harden's strengths. 

Its not "pretty".  It works great. 

 

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On 2/1/2014 at 3:25 AM, DonRocks said:

This human pogo stick deserves his own thread. I can think of three unstoppable shots off the top of my head in NBA history: Elvin Hayes backing in to the basket on his strong side, then turning around and shooting a fadeaway bank shot; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's sky hook, and Kevin Durant's jump-back from 25 feet.

As of now, I might add James Harden's step-back 3-pointer.

Don't forget: As recently as 2011-2012, Harden was the #3 player on Oklahoma City after Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook - can you imagine the potential on that team?

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Harden is on a hot streak, scoring like Wilt Chamberlain.  As a big guard he has a great handle, fakes, drives, his step back jumper (mostly 3 pointers) and is the most skilled player in the league at drawing fouls.  The Houston offense is built around him going 1 on 1 and or passing off.  He is a non stop scoring machine--the only thing that seems to stop him is he having an off game in shooting and/or exhaustion at the end of a game (probably after putting up 20, 30+ shots). 

I don't enjoy watching his offensive game...but he is freaking great and currently unstoppable.  The step back itself is very well done;  he drives hard one way or the other--the defender reacts, Harden's step back is quicker than the defender can react.  He practiced it a lot over the last several years.  It is a killer shot.

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11 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I had read that article and thought it was interesting, explanatory, and analytical.  As of last night Harden has 14 straight games of 30 or more points, a passel of 40 point games in that stretch.  Nobody has done that since Tracy McGrady back in 2003.  Harden is currently a scoring explosion.

I frankly don't watch him much, mostly highlights here and there.  I'm one of the people described in the article as not favorably inclined by his game.  If I watched an entire game I might become bored by its combination of repetitiveness and isolation play.  Regardless, he is both the killer scorer in today's game AND remarkably effective as the article describes.  After a losing start to the season The Rockets are strong competitors for the playoffs and a high ranking position.  Harden makes the Rockets great.  Can't deny it.  

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Here is an example of the ying and yang of the game:  Harden is the dribblingest player in the NBA.  The last chart in this article gives one sense of his dribbling  versus the rest of the league. I'm not sure if I got this correct but I caught notice that the cameras caught over 800 dribbles by Harden in a recent game.

OTOH:   Klay Thompson just had a very big scoring game.   His ying to Harden's yang;   Thompson had 4 dribbles all game!!

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3 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Would we have felt differently about Melo’s game if he could shoot this well?

This question was asked at the most ironic time.

"James Harden Scored 38 but Had One of the Worst Nights Ever" by Matt Bonesteel on washingtonpost.com

Look at Harden's year-over-year "3PA" for an explanation of why his scoring has increased almost annually. I guess this is what I was referring to in another thread when I said I don't like how the game of basketball has changed, and that the 3-point shot has changed it in a way that makes me not like it as much (I don't even enjoy watching the Warriors, and I enjoyed watching Kevin Durant more in Oklahoma City).

Harden changed his game to fit the modern NBA (when he's not shooting 3-pointers, he's rebounding and dishing out assists - those things seem contradictory, but somehow, they aren't); Anthony didn't modernize his game at all.

Funny, I was just thinking about Melo (and James, and Duncan, and Iverson, and Wade) yesterday, in the 2004 Olympics. (You have to acknowledge Anthony's 3 Gold Medals (2008, 2012, and 2016) - Anthony is the only man in history with 3 Golds, and he came back to get them after the humiliation of 2004) :

United States

Player Pos MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Tim Duncan F-C                   16 4 5 0 7   15
Allen Iverson G                   4 3 1 0 3   15
Lamar Odom F                   5 0 0 0 3   13
Dwyane Wade, Jr. G                   3 1 3 2 1   10
Richard Jefferson F                   5 1 0 0 4   8
LeBron James G                   1 1 1 1 1   5
Shawn Marion F                   6 0 1 0 1   4
Stephon Marbury G                   1 1 0 0 0   2
Carlos Boozer F                   4 0 1 0 1   1
Carmelo Anthony F                   1 0 0 0 1   0
Amar'e Stoudemire C                   0 0 0 0 0   0
Team                     46 11 12 3 22   73

Puerto Rico

Player Pos MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Carlos Arroyo G                   4 7 4 0 2   24
Eddie Casiano G-F                   0 1 0 0 4   18
Larry Ayuso G                   3 1 1 0 0   15
Rolando Hourruitiner F                   5 1 1 0 1   9
Jose Rafael Ortiz C                   6 0 0 0 3   8
Daniel Santiago C                   3 0 0 0 2   7
Bobby Joe Hatton G                   1 1 0 0 3   5
Sharif Karim Fajardo F                   3 0 0 0 3   4
Peter John Ramos C                   2 0 1 0 0   2
Rick Apodaca G-F                   0 0 0 0 0   0
Jorge Rivera F                   0 0 0 0 0   0
Team                     27 11 7 0 18   92

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2 hours ago, Steve R. said:

Would we have felt differently about Melo’s game if he could shoot this well?

👎 Nope

Now if he could convincingly be seen as a cause for wins, I’d readjust.  I’ve never seen it.

BTW: I don’t enjoy Harden’s game but it convincingly leads to wins

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More on the Harden phenomena including a discussion with Tracy McGrady, who had a scoring streak...like Harden's...though Harden has now surpassed it...and Scottie Pippen, Jordan's teammate.   Its a different game, so say the stars of yesteryear....

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Harden’s streak is remarkable. It has pushed his season scoring average to above that of Rick Barry (a player who my cousin and his teammates managed to hold to a measly 53 or so in high school).

Screenshot 2019-01-20 at 21.38.21.png

I haven’t watched any of the games in the streak.  I don’t enjoy his game.  The team is significantly missing other scorers; Harden is carrying the load, and they are winning.  Bully for him.  

Meanwhile the Warriors have improved their game, Green is healthier, and is the facilitator that makes the game prettier, even as they Shoot almost as many 3’s as Houston, or fake and drive past defenders.  The 3 has changed the game although it’s utilized differently by different teams

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A couple of things about Harden:

* He has recently had two-straight games totaling 115 points (57.5 ppg) with no assists aiding his scoring. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. He did it all himself.

* The 3-point arc has invalidated comparisons with the greats of yesteryear, from Jordan-on-back.

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13 hours ago, DonRocks said:

* The 3-point arc has invalidated comparisons with the greats of yesteryear, from Jordan-on-back.

I would adjust that to say its the volume of 3 pt shots in today's game (and by certain teams) that invalidates the comparisons with yesteryear.  After all the NBA has had the 3 pt line since the 79-80 season.  Its in the last few years that its usage has exploded and the sense of the game, its flow, and how it is played has changed.  The changes have been somewhat abrupt.  Teams with "legacy" big bruisers and too many of them were and have been caught off guard.  They have tried to adjust (i.e. the Wizards by example) and the adjustment is ragged and difficult. 

Usage and volume of 3 pt shots at this time does negate comparisons with yesteryear.  I agree with that.  It possibly negates comparisons with as few as 5,6,7 years ago.  Harden is the extreme though I suspect there will be more followers on his path.  Meanwhile though a team gets a player such as Embiid at Philadelphia, at 7' 2" or bigger and Talented.  They would be dumb to turn to the Harden/Houston model. 

Overall though I'd agree that the volume of 3 pointers in general has significantly changed the game.

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Have you ever thought about the players guarding James Harden?   Right now everyone of them is giving up 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 57, 58 points.   He is killing them.  Every single one of them.  Must be miserable.

One person who can relate is basketball commentator Jalen Rose who played against and covered Kobe Bryant the game Bryant scored 81 points.   81 points.  That makes Harden seem like a semi-pro.

Here Rose speaks about and illustrates the experience:

But wait:   Today's ESPN has a piece wherein Rose's commentating colleagues investigate this experience in greater detail.  Per the research Jalen Rose only "covered" Kobe Bryant while he scored a measly 18 points. 

There is hope for all those players over the last 20 games who have been on the receiving end of the Harden torching.   Beyond that in the next game they only have to play a mere mortal. 

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