Play what now?

James not Harden ‘D’

By Courtnie Martin, Sports Reporter

Typically, athletes are broadcast across media for their talent and potential reign over their sport. Michael Jordan is possibly the best basketball player of all time. Kobe Bryant runs a close race against Jordan. Ray Allen is admired for his beautiful three-pointer, and Charles Barkley is known as one of the best posts ever, despite having no championship to back his claim. It is very seldom that the league makes a mockery of their very own.

However, this is the case for the Houston Rockets’ James Harden. His resumé includes an NBA All-Star appearance, Third Team All-NBA, Sixth Man of the Year, All-Rookie Second Team, Consensus First Team All-American, Pac-10 Player of the Year, and All-Pac-10 First Team.

He started his career by being selected third overall by Oklahoma City in the 2009 draft, but it was unclear just how vital his lack of defensive pride would affect their season. Traded from Oklahoma City in a jaw-dropping decision, this six-foot, five-inch 220-pound pile of lazy has been chewed up by the media for his lack of effort on the defensive end of the floor. The claim may seem rather harsh since the shooting guard averages 25.9 points per game and proceeded to take the Rockets into playoffs, all while being named by the general managers of the NBA as the best shooting guard in the league. Still, his accolades are no excuse.

One could take a gander at how true shooting guards must feel about one of the worst defensive players in the league being ranked the best shooting guard, but isn’t this generally the case? Many athletes excel on one end of the floor. However, most of these athletes tend to work extremely hard to even out their skill on the other end. Harden has been blasted for his lack of effort. YouTube has hundreds of clips of Harden “falling asleep” on defence and allowing his opponents to do whatever they please on the court. The Rockets didn’t do too well in their previous season—rest assured that was in part the result of Harden’s desire to put the ball in the hole, rather than prevent the opposing team from doing the same.

In their most recent game against the Mavericks, the Rockets gave up 123 points, resulting in a loss by three. If Harden had only known that basketball is five-on-five, the Rockets could have taken home a “W.” Harden never put his hands up and hardly even knew his man was at the rim while he danced around at the three-point line. If this lack of pride persists, the Rockets are going to find themselves missing the playoffs on account of a “disease of Harden.” His blatant lack of support on the floor will eventually rattle the cages of his teammates—but then again, you don’t need to play defence to get the ball!