Harden vows to be more attentive on the defensive end this season.
Houston Rockets general manager Dayrl Morey called the criticism of star shooting guard James Harden’s defense “completely unfair,” when speaking to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports. Here’s exactly what Morey had to say:
For whatever reason, it has taken on a life of its own. You’ve got people doing a 10-minute YouTube clip that everyone references, and I just ask anyone, ‘Take your worst 10 minutes from your job the last year and just take those worst 10 minutes and put them in a YouTube clip.’ I’m guessing it wouldn’t come out very well for anybody. That, to me, was completely unfair. That bothered me in a big way. Without context, you can grab 10 minutes of anyone and make them look like (expletive). I think reality TV proves that.
He knows that without him and Dwight putting focus on that end, it’s not going to work. My sense is that he obviously understands that. When he’s locked in, he’s good.
If you aren’t familiar with what Morey is referencing, here’s the 11 minute video of Harden’s horrific defense that surfaced last April.
For a perennial All-Star and a member of the 2014 All-NBA First Team, Harden’s defense is inexcusable. He often maunders in his own little world on the defensive end, and at times I’m left speechless watching him consistently lose his man. There have been times where I’ve watched the Rockets, and I wonder “How the $%^* did Harden end up in that defensive position?!?” He gambles unnecessarily and reaches excessively, and as a result Harden’s reputation has taken a huge blow.
But, he isn’t the league’s worst defender, and he has shown some promise on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for Harden and Houston fans, every moment of defensive assurance is followed by several follies. Minimizing these mistakes on the defensive end could be the difference between a deep playoff run and an early postseason flameout for the Rockets. It’s evident that Harden doesn’t like exerting much energy on the defensive end, but the constant taunting from bloggers, the Twittersphere and fans should motivate James.
I’m interested to see if Harden’s attention to defense continues to wane, or will it intensify in the wake of the constant ridicule.