By Sebastian Gonzalez on June 6, 2014
James Harden's selection to the All-NBA first team surprised many. Although his offensive production was fantastic, the Rockets once again fell in the first round, in part due to Harden's lackadaisical defense. While he's certainly an All-NBA player, he isn't first team material.
James Harden doesn't exactly have a team-first attitude. In numerous interviews, he constantly preaches about the team playing better defense while never admitting the faults of his terrible defense. When he has a bad game, he ignores the media to escape the questioning. If this weak attitude is supposed to lead the team, I'd be worried for the Rockets.
If you listen to postgame interviews, head coach Kevin McHale always mentions the "ball getting sticky". Of course, that's his subtle jab at Harden for not passing the ball around like the rest of the team. While Harden's isolation plays work to a point, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have shown team-ball is the way to go.
When you look at the guards relegated to the second and third teams, you can't help but notice that some of them had better overall seasons than James Harden. The biggest omission would be Steph Curry, who was a much better distributor, shot a much better percentage and played slightly better defense. Other players worth mentioning are Tony Parker and Damian Lillard.
Speaking in terms of raw offensive numbers, Harden had a fantastic season. But when the postseason came along, those numbers took a serious nosedive. Couple the low offensive production with the already terrible defense, and you've got a player who doesn't deserve to be a first-team All-NBA player.
Basketball is a two-way sport. James Harden is a one-way player. By selecting Harden into the first team, the media has essentially admitted to not caring about the defense played. Harden's defense allowed Corey Brewer, James Anderson and Luke Babbit to have career nights against him. Yes, you read that right. Luke. Babbit.
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