If I had a few words to describe James Harden I’d say he has an old man’s game. That is nowhere near a knock on the 6’5 shooting guard out of Arizona State. James plays the game slow, the way it should be played. He wont wow the crowd with his leaping ability, or explode by defenders and leave them in the dust. His game is about getting the job done.
For any wing player that is reading this article you should take notice of what James Harden does. The first skill that pops in my mind is his ability to make shots. Did you hear what I said?? He’s a wing player that can actually make shots, a lost art in our game for some reason. His ability to knock down the 3point shot(shooting 40% from the NBA 3 point line this season) forces defenders to play up on him. This is where his other skill comes in handy with the ability to handle the ball.
As I wrote earlier, Harden plays the game slow. But he has the ability to change speeds which is essential for any perimeter players especially those of you who run a lot of pick and roll. He has that deceptive quickness where he can put his defender to sleep and then change gears and get to the basket. He can isolate to get his offense , but he’s best served coming off screens and running screen and roll. Harden is on of the best passing wing players in the league, which makes him so much more valuable. With the injury to Eric Maynor, the Thunder can actually run him at some backup point guard which brings me to my next point.
In today’s game player egos are at an all time high. Every player wants to be the main option on the team and can turn nasty if they don’t get their way. James is the ultimate team player. Here is a player that could probably start close to 25 teams in the NBA today, but plays the part of 6th man for one of the best teams in the NBA. You never hear of him complaining about his role, he just wants to put his team in the best position to win as possible. In 29 minutes of work Harden isaveraging 16.3 PTS 4.1 REB 3.3 Assists. Also take into consideration he’s scoring 16.8 points a game while only taking 9.7 shots a game. Harden’s game is just flat out efficient. He shoots 48% from the field, 87% from the line and as we mentioned before 40% from the line.
I think his game should be emulated by every young wing player. When you can put up the amount of points in so few shots as Harden can you can help any team win. He makes winning basketball plays and his team is just that good with him on the floor. The mentality of players should be more towards Harden’s. He sacrifices individual gains for his team’s winning. Young player’s need to take two things from James Harden and that is his efficiency and winning attitude.
The game today is played too fast by every position. If you watch Harden play he waits for plays to materialize. What makes him so good is that he can push the ball and play up tempo or he can play slow and efficient in the half court. He can play on or off the ball, also he can post up and be an option on the block. This renaissance man mentality is what is missing in today’s game. You can compare his game of that of Manu Ginobili. His game isn’t one that you’ll find in lot of player’s today because of his ability to do so many different things. Ginobili is the only one that comes to mind because they both can make shots, take you off of the dribble, and can both pass. Oh I forgot they are both lefties.
I attended The Hoop Hall Classic last week and watched an up and coming player that reminded me of James. His name is Shabazz Muhammad out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas,NV. Muhammad is ranked #1 in the country for high school seniors. He has good size, is a very good mid range player, and can put the ball on the floor a lot like James you can watch video on him here CLICK HERE. Muhammad isn’t a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but has a lot of the winning components that Harden has. His ability to make shots in the mid range to mid range + areas as well as his ability to put the ball on the floor makes him a viable prospect for sure. But what I liked most about him is his competitiveness. Now people call a lot of players competitive and usually that means he’ll take 35 shots to score 28 points and want to take every shot. This wasn’t the case in Muhammad he could score at will, but would draw double teams and find open teammates as well as make defensive stops and dig in.
It’s refreshing to watch wing players or young players in general that are talented, but also make the sacrifices it takes for their teams to win. Hopefully its contagious with others.
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