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Why James Harden will never win a championship

Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:16 IST

Harden averages almost 15 free throw attempts a game this season.
Harden averages almost 15 free throw attempts a game this season.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not necessarily represent the views of Sportskeeda.

Basketball was, is and always will be a team game. The sport is about getting all 5 members on the floor involved both offensively and defensively. A certain Houston Rocket player begs to differ.

Make no mistake about it, James Harden is probably the most gifted offensive player in the game today. He puts his defenders in spin cycles and makes the most difficult step back jumpers look ridiculously easy. However, all this comes at the cost of one thing - team chemistry.

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There's no doubt about the fact that if a team wants to win in the regular season, the playoffs and eventually the championship, there needs to be healthy team chemistry. The style that Harden plays with does not help build that chemistry in any way.

Harden often plays Iso-Ball and that really affects the team. He throws up contested and unnecessary shots, take for example the recent 50-point game he had against the San Antonio Spurs (11-38 FG, 28.94% shooting). If he is double-teamed then he has to pass the ball up in a situation where a lot of time has already been taken off the shot clock and the player who receives the ball is under tremendous pressure to make the shot in the little time that he gets. A great shooter or any player for that matter knows the importance of getting into a rhythm and that is difficult to achieve when you play with a player like James Harden.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant has criticized Harden's playing style in the past saying Harden's ball-dominant style while impressive and perhaps even necessary, will not help the Rockets win an NBA title. Hall of famer Charles Barkley too condemned Harden's style of play recently by saying that if he were on the floor with James Harden he would definitely get frustrated at watching Harden doing his thing while standing in one corner just waiting for the ball that would rarely come to him. Barkley also went to the extent of saying that he would have requested a trade with the team management.

Kobe Bryant and James Harden share a moment during a game.
Kobe Bryant and James Harden share a moment during a game.

James Harden can drop 50 points on any given night and can score tough shots over the game's greatest defenders and take home scoring and MVP honors but can he win a championship? That is the question that matters the most. To be truly successful and win that coveted NBA championship, Harden will have to start trusting his teammates a lot more and create a system like the one the Golden State Warriors adopted during their historic 2015-2019 run.

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It does not make matters any better knowing that he has one of the league's worst shooters this season in Russell Westbrook as his teammate. Harden will definitely go down in history as one of the greatest to ever play the game but he will never win a championship with his current style of play, he will definitely have to tweak his game and make adjustments in a manner that benefits the team and his legacy.

Published 08 Dec 2019, 18:00 IST
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