Why James Harden is not even comparable to Kobe Bryant
James Harden has been given a lot of compliments in his career. For one, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey previously claimed that “Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan.” Meanwhile, Charles Barkley recently proclaimed Harden as the best 1-on-1 scorer he has ever seen.
However, while his scoring ability is unquestionable, Harden seems to essentially disappear in must-win games. Put simply, he just doesn’t play like the greatest scorer of all time as what Morey and Barkley make him to be.
To recall, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Rockets in a wire-to-wire contest on Thursday to take a 3-1 lead. Harden scored 21 points in the contest, but 16 of those came from the free throw line. He only made two of his 11 field goal attempts in the 39 minutes he played.
Anthony Irwin: … And it legitimately offends me when there’s a comparison made to Kobe. It legitimately offends me where where I say, ‘you must have never seen Kobe Bryant play.’ Or if you watch Kobe, you only watched him when he had the ball and paid no attention to him any other times during the game.
Because everybody likes to mock the Game 7 performance where he shot what, 6 of 24 against the Celtics in that Game 7? And that’s the thing that people who want to disparage Kobe will point to, but they’ll overlook the 16 rebounds that he grabbed, and all the trips to the free throw line that he that he made while he was just trying to find some way to impact the game when his shot wasn’t going or when he didn’t have the ball.
And I watched James Harden and I find myself — and look this helps the Lakers, and at the end of the day, he can do whatever he wants — but like on a just simply love of the game standpoint, it irritates me to watch him take himself out of these games. It just makes no sense whatsoever. Somebody who is as great a shooter as he is, go stand in the corner. What are you doing standing at the half court line, goalies find a spot where you could kind of stretch the defense. And I’m ranting at this point — and I’m ranting about something that has really helped the Lakers — but just on a purely basketball level, this is not the way that the sport was meant to be played.
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