Video: Charles Barkley reacts to Rockets’ James Harden’s name with mocking dribbling gesture
Add Charles Barkley to the list of former NBA greats that are unimpressed by Houston Rockets guard James Harden.
Barkley appeared to mock Harden’s tendency to pound the rock by making a dribbling motion during the NBA TNT Tip-Off ahead of Houston’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night:
Chuck is wrong for this
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 20, 2019
The subtle jab at Harden comes just one week after ESPN NBA analyst Scottie Pippen stated Harden’s 55-point game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 11 was “nothing.”
Indeed, Harden is a lightning rod for controversy in the modern NBA. He has asserted himself as one of the most prolific scorers of the generation, but the way in which he gets his points infuriates some fans and analysts alike.
Barkley seems to be making reference to the notion that Harden’s offense is totally predicated on “iso” ball. The Rockets run an overwhelming number of isolations. They lead the NBA with a 19.3 percent frequency. For reference, the Portland Trail Blazers (who rank second in this category) have a 10.6 percent frequency.
Yet even those numbers understate Harden’s individual tendencies. “The Beard” runs 14.2 isolation possessions per game, or about a 41.2 percent frequency, according to NBA.com. The next closest? LeBron James, at 5.4 possessions per game.
Harden is also getting to the free-throw line at a historic rate, averaging 13.1 freebies per contest. His ability to draw fouls is unprecedented, though certainly not appreciated by all:
Spurs fan yells at Harden: “No one wants to see a free throw shooting contest.”
The Beard responds: “Nobody wants to see fouls either goddammit”
— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) December 4, 2019
Still, it is hard to argue with the results. Harden leads the NBA in scoring at 38.9 points per game, and the Rockets–while not totally outstanding–are 18-9, good enough for fourth in the Western Conference through the first 27 games of their season.
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