Recently James Harden of the Houston Rockets said in an interview with The Vertical, he was the best player and/or point guard in the NBA. After hearing this, I thought, it is time to take off those rose-colored glasses and give you a dose of reality.
James Harden is a great scorer and offensive player averaging 21.2 points and five assists per game in his career. However, Harden does not play any defense whatsoever! Last time I checked, defense is an important part of the game in basketball, maybe not in the NBA or on the Houston Rockets under Mike D’Antoni, but in basketball in general, it is.
When I think of the best players in the history of the NBA or currently I think of players that can play both sides of the floor, not just score. It’s the difference between being great and being a future Hall of Famer. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James were all once or currently are the most dominant players during their era. They could score with the best of them, but what made them phenomenal was their ability to play defense and shut down their opponent.
Harden chooses not to play defense, and therefore, since you choose not to do that, you also take yourself out of the conversation of as best player in the NBA. Sorry, great players play defense (that’s when you the other team has the ball). Until you do this, you will never win a championship, and you will never be taken seriously as the best player of the NBA. You will be known as a great scorer. Remember, defense wins championships, it also wins individual awards too.