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James Harden may never be the shooter/scorer he was in the past. It seems that he has lost his enthusiasm for the game - (Koorie irving - photo)

 

 

 

The Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverly stands firm that James Harden is worth a MAX salary deal - (NBA - photo)

 

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith rolls his eyes as he disagrees with NBA player Patrick Beverly about the worth of James Harden - (Screen Shot photo)

 

 

Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and Boston Celtics Larry Bird in Game two of the 1985 NBA Finals at Boston Garden Date 30 May 1985 - Steve Lipofsky www.Basketballphoto.com

 

SPORTS NOTES - MEDIA HARD ON HARDEN

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

In my January 2021 column titled THE BIG 3 NO HAPPY BROOKLYN NETS I took my swipes at what appeared to me to be a no win situation of 3 superstars James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and only one ball. As I noted: Now here's when things get tricky… how long will this last? How long will they all get along when it comes to crunch time and two have to defer to the other to take the last game winning shot? In this situation we are playing ego ball. In Brooklyn the trio only played together in just 16 total games and then... Read on... - NBA'S TOP SELLING JERSEYS - NBA's ALL TIME BEST PLAYERS 1st and 2nd TEAMS

 

Wednesday May 25, 2022

WATCHA DONE 4 ME LATELY?

It seems the main stream media is having a feast bashing James Harden BUT…. with one exception. As a guest on an ESPN show Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverly defended the former league MVP. Last season we took our shots at the Brooklyn Nets when they assembled what many believed to be the BIG THREE.

In my January 2021 column titled THE BIG 3 NO HAPPY BROOKLYN NETS I took my swipes at what appeared to me to be a no win situation of 3 superstars Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and only one ball. As I noted: Now here's when things get tricky… how long will this last? How long will they all get along when it comes to crunch time and two have to defer to the other to take the last game winning shot? In this situation we are playing ego ball.

The trio only played together in just 16 total games. This season the franchise went through another drama with Irving not wanting to obtain COVID shots. By midseason Harden revealed he was NO HAPPY and wanted to be traded. In a blockbuster midseason trade the Philadelphia 76ers obtained The Beard. The results were met with disenchantment by the media and fan expectations. Harden wasn't the scorer he had been in the past, he became a facilitator.

It seems the main stream media has a hard on for Harden. ESPN's Stephen A Smith went off on Harden and insisted that the real James Harden SHOW UP. He even invited him to appear on his show. The question is for what? To embarrass him and castigate him... why bother?

Sixers center Joel Embiid said Harden wasn't the same player as he was in Houston. The media blew that up as a criticism when it was only a COMMENT and an accurate one as well. Embiid was not criticizing Harden; he was just recognizing how his game has changed.

What Beverly pointed out was spot on as on his ESPN debate with Smith, he repeatedly stated 22, 10 and 8. That translates Harden's stats as a combined Net and Sixer 22 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds per game during the regular season. During the playoffs in 12 games he averaged 18.6 points and 8.6 assists.

Those numbers are slightly less and comparable in what he had in nine games with Brooklyn in the 2021 playoffs when he tallied 20.3 ppg and 8.6 assists. Beverly made an astute observation. The reality is that roughly 90% of the players in the league would love to have those numbers. Beverly commented that he felt with those numbers Harden was worth a MAX deal. Smith just typically rolled his eyes after hearing Beverly's opinion.

Harden began this season expecting to get a new max contract this summer. Harden's option year of $47 million, is well below the $270 million he could command over five years if he turns down that option and becomes a free agent. The debate is if he is in a declining stage what would his numbers be over five years?

The other reality is that during the offseason it was reported that Harden enjoyed visiting the lap dancing clubs and spending huge sums of money. Lap dance time is not Nautilus time in the gym and keeping in shape.

There is no question that Harden was not in tip top shape during the season but still was more significant presence than the majority of players in the league. At 32 he's losing some skills particularly quickness. He huffed and puffed more this season.

Another perspective is he chose to adjust to the team and not insist that the team adjust to him. He had to attune his timing and rhythm with his new teammates and that takes time.

But just one second here as this is a new reality for the league and Harden, other than the above mentioned adjustments the league is finally playing basketball and not sissy ball. A major portion of Harden's game is to drive the lane and get draw fouls. Finally the referees are letting the game be played the real was which translates into DON'T COME IN HERE OR YOU'LL HAVE YOUR ASS HANDED TO YOU. The real game of physical play began in the playoffs.

Harden was used to dancing through the lane singing M.C. Hammer's "You Can't Touch This." Hopefully those sissy ball days are over.

Back in the day Dikembe Mutombo would be waving his finger at Harden after knocking his ass to the ground. As the former show Joe Rogan hosted was titled FEAR FACTOR, Rogan would question is fear a factor for you? Now is time to ask that question to Harden.

Harden may never be the shooter/scorer he was in the past. It seems that he has lost his enthusiasm for the game. On the other hand for what he has been through with the COVID adjustments and the Kyrie Irving drama queen episodes he simply could be just mentally worn down.

In the world of what have you done for me lately what we refer to Harden and fellow league MVP and all time triple double record holder Russell Westbrook this season seems to be both players in transition. Much has to do with their aging and trying to fit in with new teams, players and systems.

We question why these know it all pundits not factor in those prerequisites in their criticism of two players that are on the NBA's 75th Anniversary All-time team. It's apparent that these pundits lack intelligence and prefer to talk without overall rationale.

The bottom line is Harden is popular with the fans as noted in the photo below. His jersey is the 2nd most popular TOP SELLING with the fans following LeBron James. Is this GO FIGURE CHALLENGE?

The Sixers want Harden back, the question is does he want to return OR… stay tuned.


 

THE NBA's GREATEST of ALL TIME
1st Team
Position
2nd Team
Larry Bird
PF
Elgin Baylor
SF
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
C
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
SG
LeBron James
Magic Johnson
PG
Oscar Robertson
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES & Coach
C/F
C
Coach

NBA's 50 GREATEST PLAYERS of ALL TIME LIST

On October 29, 1996 In conjunction with the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the list of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History was announced. It included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy


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