Apr 14, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) warms up before a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets: Why James Harden is NOT a Superstar

Houston Rockets: Why James Harden is NOT a Superstar

What is the definition of a superstar?  Everyone has a different perspective on what it takes to become one, and there aren’t many right or wrong answers.

In today’s NBA, a lot of fans throw that word around quite loosely and I worry if the word is losing its context.

The All-NBA 1st, 2nd and 3rd teams were released and here is the list:

All-NBA teams:

1st: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Joakim Noah, James Harden, Chris Paul

2nd: Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker

3rd: Paul George, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson, Goran Dragic, Damian Lillard

The one thing that sticks out on this list is the fact that James Harden is on the NBA’s first team.  Before I get slandered for a complete 24 hours in my Twitter mentions, allow me to explain myself.

What is the definition of a superstar?  A player that scores points, and causes the opposing team problems all game? Yes.  Makes teammates better? Of Course.  Two-way player? Absolutely.  A reliable ballplayer game-in and game-out despite the circumstances? Right Again.

James Harden has all of these traits, but does not utilize them.  Still not sold?

Feel free to let me clarify myself:

Clearly, Harden has a couple of things he needs to work on before we can put him in the conversation with the greats of today’s game.  His defense is not the only thing preventing him from being better.

When I watch players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and other legit NBA superstars I notice similarities.

These guys win their respective match-ups night in and night out despite who the other guy is in front defending them.  They may start off slow or possibly get in early foul trouble, but when their team needs them the most more often than not these guys rise to the occasion.  Whether it’s on the defensive end or offensive end their team looks to them to get them to finish line.

Watching Harden play last season he showed flashes of being able to do this but not consistently.  One could tell from the start of the first quarter of a game and infer if it was going to be an easy night for Harden or a hard one.

When it was easy, things went well, the basketball was moving, fellow teammates were unselfish and the best player will get everyone involved.

On the flip side of that, when things started off ugly more often than not they ended that way, and a lot of early season losses were a result of this.

I’m not here to rain on Harden’s parade though, he did do a lot of wonderful things in the regular season.  He became the first Rockets’ player since Hakeem Olajuwon to be named on the NBA’s First Team.  That was back during the 1996-97 season!

The shooting guard also finished 5th in the NBA in scoring at 24.8 PPG while also leading the Rockets to one of the best records in the NBA for the 2nd half of the season.  He also scored 6.9 points per 4th Quarter coming in 2nd to only to Kevin Durant, the reigning MVP.

Apr 27, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives past Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright (1) during the fourth quarter in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest problem with James Harden is that he does not realize the opportunity that lies in front of him.  Rarely do NBA franchises have owners that not only want to win, but are willing to spend money to do so.

Les Alexander is one of those owners!

After the completion of his first season with the Rockets,  Harden verbally made a call for help to anyone that would listen.  The Rockets answered that call and brought in Dwight Howard.

There has been talk of the Rockets adding third superstar no matter what as a result of their playoff failure.  The team seems to be so hell bent on doing so.

This type of news would make most superstars who need help on their team *cough* Kyrie Irving *cough* Carmelo Anthony jump for joy, but for Harden it seems like he’s being nonchalant about the whole thing.

Hopefully this disappointing early-exit of the playoffs and constant scrutiny on multiple social networking sites will cause the start of a fire in Harden’s belly.

Otherwise, he will get the label as a player that just “wants to score,” make money and doesn’t care about winning.

 

Tags: Houston Rockets James Harden

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