• Rick Niedermayer Jr

Why Trading for James Harden is a bad move for a contender

James Harden is a former league MVP, scoring champion and is probably the best one on one player in the game. Everybody knows his step back and cross over is on street ball, ankle breaking levels, but what else is on that level? His selfishness. He has demanded a trade from Houston, after the team traded a second all-star point guard away to try and help make a team around him take the step towards a championship.

Chris Paul, left, and James Harden, right, for the Rockets in 2018.

The Rockets traded away Chris Paul, a top five all time point guard who has led the league four times in his career, has averaged 18.5 points a game along with 9.5 assist and 2.2 steals a game. Definitely a Hall of Famer, he didn’t work with James Harden. In his two seasons with Houston, Paul saw his lowest average in points, averaging 17.1 points and 8 assist a game. In came Russell Westbrook, a former teammate in OKC, who in his career has averaged almost a triple double with 23.2 points a game, 7.1 rebounds and 8.3 assist. He is also a former MVP, like Harden. In his 1 season in Houston, Westbrook averaged 27.2, 7.9 rebounds and 7 assist a game along side Harden. He was never going to work as he demanded the ball in his hands to be effective, taking 22 shots a game.

James Harden, left, and Russell Westbrook, right, for the Rockets in 2019.

Houston has seen the most prolific scorer in the history of the NBA. Since joining Houston in 2012, Harden has gone from averaging 25.9 points a game and 5 assist a game, to averaging 34.3 points a game and 7.5 assist a game last season with the Rockets. If Houston does trade Harden, the team he goes to will have to have a coach willing to change everything. Harden is most effective when an offense runs through him as the focus, He has shown he can pass the ball, averaging 11 assist a game in 2016, but other than that season, he has never averaged more than 8 assist a game. With that said, Harden has shown he isn’t willing to pass the ball, so how can a team justify trading away major pieces for him.

James Harden during his first preseason game.

Harden has become a player that is considered a problem, which considering his talent, is a shame. He has run 2 point guards, a coach and even a general manager out of a town. That should be a red flag to anyone, as Houston has hired a new coach, new general manager, a new point guard and even a center that can shoot, but that’s not good enough for him. Houston trying to move Harden is a great thing for the team, but not necessarily for the team that acquires him.

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