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Is Harden the 'Problem?' If not, what is???

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by IzakDavid13, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. IzakDavid13

    IzakDavid13 Contributing Member

    Jan 2, 2011
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    Is Harden The Problem?
    If he's not, then what is???

    I wrote this on this day, Jan 6, last year 2015 after The Bulls game where as a team we were awarded 5 free throws (we scored 63 points in the paint) & the Bulls had 30 attempts.

    I was peeved at the officials swallowing their whistles & wanted to highlight the decline in Harden's Free Throw attempts.

    "Harden this season is averaging 7.9 Free Throws from 8.9 attempts (18.9FGA). He is 5.7 from 6.7 attempts for his career, but in the last 5 games he is 4.0 made from 4.2 attempts (still 18.8FGA)…

    Month - FTM - FTA
    October: 10.0-11.0
    November: 8.5-9.5
    December: 8.0-9.1
    January: 3.3-3.3 (3 games)"


    This morning I read this:
    'Now in 2016 James Harden leads the NBA with an average of 10.3 free throws attempted per game and has made 16 more this season than any other player has attempted, But in the seven games since he took 19 free throws against Charlotte, he has averaged six per game, taking six or fewer in five of those games...as per Feigen'

    And it had me thinking, 'What is the problem? Is it Harden? Is it Howard? Is it Bickerstaff? Are the refs swallowing their whistles again? Is it the DD curse?

    So after my job site got rained out I decided to look into it a little...

    This season Harden is taking 19.7 shots, 8 of those 3 pointers, & 10.3 Free Throw attempts (making 9)

    Oct: 19.5 SAPG (11 x 3's) 8.5 FTA
    Nov: 21.1 SAPG (8.7 x 3's) 12.3 FTA
    Dec: 18.5 SAPG (7 x 3's) 9 FTA
    Jan: 17.5 SAPG (8.5 x 3's) 6 FTA

    In November James Harden was getting to the line on average 12.3 attempts per game, while taking 12.4 x 2 point shots per game...astonishing!
    (.583 FTA per shot)

    October it was 8.5 FTA while taking 8.5 x 2 point shots per game.
    (.436 FTA per shot)

    That's an average of 1 FTA for every 2 point shot attempted...

    In December that rate dropped to .783, 9 FTA on 11.5 x 2 point shot attempted (.486 FTA per shot) & The rate has dropped again so far in January to .667 6 FTA for every 9 x 2 point shot attempted. (.343 FTA per shot)

    Harden draws 3.78 shooting fouls & 0.77 and1's per game...both slightly up from last season's figures.

    So when the officials are swallowing the whistle this does affect his game, as he is getting hit & hacked but not getting rewarded for being aggressive.

    During the Utah game the officials were unusually late on their whistles, which also affects Harden as he likes to put up a shot after hearing the whistle upon contact.

    Since the Charlotte game these have been Harden's FTA:
    ORL (L): 5/6
    SAS (W): 4/5
    NOP (L): 4/4
    ATL (L): 11/12
    GSW (L): 9/9
    SAS (L): 3/3
    UTA (W): 8/9
    Total: 44/48 .917

    That's an average of 6.86 per game, way down on the season average of 10.28 (-3.42) that is a potential 3 points per game down.

    Contact is contact, & if players can't guard Harden without fouling him, then officials should call it until they work out a way to stop him.

    Why should Harden be punished for being aggressive?

    Hopefully this situation rectifies itself.

    Another interesting stat is that in 16 Games in November Harden was 45/139 from downtown (.324) & the 16 games in December he was 46/112 from behind the arc (.411) a big improvement taking his TS% closer to the .600 of last season, this is after starting the season 3/22 from downtown in the first 2 games in October.

    He still hasn't made a 3 point shot in a Sunday game though! (0/17 2 games)

    Harden's minutes & usage rate dropped from 40 minutes & 34.2% in November to 36.1 minutes & 32.1% in December, this saw a big decline in his turnovers from 80 (5 per game) to 65 (4 per game).

    Scoring went down during this period, as did his rebounding, but he was more efficient, assists were up (teammates started hitting shots) ORtg & DRtg also improved.

    Turnovers...basically the same as last season, with 2.5 per game off bad passes (up from 2.17), 1.25 lost ball per game (up from 1.20) & turnovers attributable to the player, like traveling, 3-second violations, stepping out-of-bounds turnovers, offensive goaltends, and offensive fouls committed while not in possession of the ball, at 0.8 per game up from 0.6.

    Harden has assisted on 16.2 points per game, slightly down from the 17 per game from last year.

    So is Harden the problem?

    In short, no.

    Last season's MVP performance he averaged 27.4 points 5.7 rebounds 7 assists 1.9 steals
    This season where y'all are believing the media hype, Harden is averaging 28.1 points (+.7) 5.9 rebounds (+.2) 6.7 assist (-.3) 1.6 steals (-.3)

    If our role players were hitting their shots Harden's assists would be way up...but☕️

    The biggest issue with Harden is the need to reduce his turnovers and he also needs to continue to improve his shot selection & shooting percentage...this will happen as Lawson continues to gain confidence and takes the ball out of Harden's hands, allowing Harden to play off the ball & be fresher down the stretch of close games.

    So what's the problem?

    The major issue with our team at the moment, except the lack of an experienced coaching staff, is the fact that 8 of our players are shooting under 45% from the field...
    Ariza our starting small forward is an abysmal 39% & 34% x3, Lawson 37% & 31% x 3, & Brewer 35% & 28% x 3!

    Two of our best 3 point shooters are our 4's, D-Mo & TJ, but we are only able to get them 1.5 looks per game, while Ariza jacks up 6 per game & Brewer 3 per game.

    Our young bigs are having trouble handling the ball off passes (mainly because the lane is crowded due to lack of spacing) & TJ who makes 90% of his dunks (20/22) but only 48% of his lay ups (42/87) & 25% of shots in the paint (16/63), continues to go up soft & try to lay the ball up, or float it in instead of going up strong and slamming it down hard...his rebounding has been atrocious too.

    To put into comparison:
    Montrezl is 66.7% on lay ups,
    Dwight just under 60% (51% on hook shots)
    D-Mo is 60% on Lay ups (52% on hook shots)
    Capela 53% on lay ups

    (Brewer is 44% on lay ups (.519 at the rim, but below 30% from everywhere else)

    The offence needs to be constantly moving, we need to be sharing the ball & we need to be running more Pick'n'Rolls...simple right?

    And feeding Dwight & D-Mo in the post. For some unknown reason our perimeter players can't feed the post with a simple entry pass!

    Getting Dwight established down low puts the opposition in foul trouble, opens up the perimeter and makes the game a lot easier.

    D-Mo once he is in game shape should provide some great minutes and floor spacing.

    Thornton needs to play more & with consistent minutes in the rotation. The line up is at its most potent offensively when he is in the line up with Harden.

    The Harden ISO is still a great took & awesome weapon to have in the arsenal, but it becomes redundant when over used & our role players aren't hitting their shots...& contrary to popular belief, Harden isn't going rogue in the final minutes - this is what the coach wants run, otherwise he'd pull him from the game then sit him...& if Bickerstaff doesn't have the backbone to pull a player when they've gone rogue, even if it's your superstar, then he needs to be given the same treatment McHale received.

    So don't be hating on Harden when the ISO's start...that's on the coach.

    On Defence? We need to scrap the pack the paint, switch on every play and over commit to helping out philosophy.

    We need to Fight through the screens, go over, go under - but stop putting Dwight, Jones & Capela in a position where they are now defending the quickest perimeter player 20 feet out from the basket, & having Pat or Harden defending giants in the paint because of our insane switching policy!!!

    We need to Stop penetration, box out, if we double - double hard, rotate quickly, move our feet, stay square, don't give up the baseline & GET BACK IN TRANSITION...basic basketball 101.

    Turnovers are killing us. Plain & simple...yes we play a faster pace & yes we run etc, but taking care of that ball on every possession is a must!

    We turn the ball over 16 times per game! We score at 1.27pps, giving up 16 possessions is like losing a potential 20 points on offence & giving our opponents (who hit 1.24pps) an opportunity to score 20,
    Losing a potential 20 & giving up a potential 20 is a recipe for disaster...

    We turn the opposition over 15 times, taking away a potential 18.6ppg, but allow them to score almost 21 on average off our turnovers!

    We score an average of 16.7ppg off opposition turnovers, while they score 20.9ppg off our turnovers.

    That is close to a 6 point deficit on turnovers alone when taking into account the potential points lost due to our lack of ball control!

    Couple that with our opponents 2nd Chance points 14.3ppg, (we score 12.8ppg on 2nd chance points) (-1.5) and we are going into every game knowing that we are going to give the opposition 7.5 points just off hustle plays & turnovers!

    If we could get our turnovers down to 13 a game, box out, share the ball while improving our assist to turnover ratio & then play defence with heart & hustle we will have a great finish to this season, and hopefully a long play off run finishing with a Championship Parade.

    In saying that,

    We desperately need another Big off the bench that plays like a big, rebounds, defends and finishes.

    We also need a knock down shooter, that can consistently hit his outside shots off our kick outs, a stretch 4 (Anderson) would be nice filling this role, but we also need a perimeter player that can knock down shots.

    Jan 15 is coming up & a few of the players that fill out needs become available.

    I love our team, we are deep but we are not playing the right way or being used correctly at the moment - especially on Defence, and closing out quarters.

    ...but this to all the haters wanting to trade Harden or Howard, they are the cornerstones to any success that we hope to achieve.

    Don't believe the media hype, Harden is putting up MVP type numbers again, playing solid D in a flawed system that highlights & exposes everyone's flaws...if we were 22-14 or even 20-16 y'all would be talking Harden up, but don't abandon ship just because the boat is rocking.

    We need to stay positive & show love for our stars, there was a time when our star was Mo Taylor...just a few years ago we were the perennial 9th Seed with the 14th pick watching Kevin Martin throw lobs to Jordan Hill & Patrick Patterson.

    We were begging the coach to play T-Will because we wanted to see some athletic plays & someone playing above the rim!

    Be grateful for what we have on our Rockets squad & never stop supporting our team & repping The Rockets!!!

    #RedNation for Life, Go Rockets!!!
    8 people like this.
  2. SF3isBack!!

    SF3isBack!! Member

    Oct 2, 2007
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    It's not just one person or thing its several. There see how easy that was and I didn't need a full page to do it.
  3. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة

    Jul 17, 2006
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    Problem triangle

    Harden and Howard and role players - Morey - Alexander

    and the coaching is sub par
  4. Tfor3

    Tfor3 Member

    Feb 9, 2007
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    1 person likes this.
  5. kjayp

    kjayp Contributing Member

    Jul 28, 2006
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    Many problems, but yes, harden is the main one.

    His laziness has totally destroyed the morale of this team.
  6. dischead

    dischead Member

    Dec 25, 2002
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    Hangover :cool:
  7. gumbleton3

    gumbleton3 Member

    Nov 10, 2009
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    He isn't "the" problem but a major part of why we suck this season. I don't think you could attribute all our woes to one single player, not even T Jones.
  8. RESINator

    RESINator Member

    Nov 20, 2014
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    It's clear by a mile if you've been watching harden that he is not giving effort this year despite his numbers
  9. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

    Nov 8, 2002
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    Interesting post. I was going to make one coming to a bit of a different conclusion. Perhaps tomorrow
  10. ISOBall

    ISOBall Member

    Nov 17, 2015
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    This organization is rotten from head to toe:
    Front office

    It's all filled with scumbags while SAS and GS have beautiful chemistry and flow with EVERYONE (including their fans) in their organization. You can see those teams are successful because they are all in it together there's fire and passion to get to the next level and they do everything possible to win. Everyone is on the same page

    It's the best way to get success out of a team
  11. oogie boogie

    oogie boogie Member

    Jun 24, 2010
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    Even though James is shooting more free throws than ever before his free throw rate has decreased.
  12. dkoune

    dkoune Rookie

    Jun 26, 2008
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    It's the lack of production of the powerfoward position
  13. Mathloom

    Mathloom Consumption is a waste of time.

    Oct 4, 2008
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    THEY don't need to scrap back. They know how to scrap back. They're just tired of putting in overtime work on defense only to get mediocre results and a careless Harden.

    Harden needs to get his ass back in transition before his man, and he needs to stay close to whoever he's defending. No single realistic change is going to have a greater impact on this team than Harden playing defense.

    It's not like Dwight and FT's. Dwight is never ever going to make more FT's, he doesn't know how, and neither does every shooting expert and coach he's ever worked with. Harden can play much better defense. He did it last season, while carrying the offensive load. He can just stay close to his man and still be a pretty bad defender and that would be way better than right now for the team defense.

    You can't have a leak that big. Defense is not just a category. It's half the game. Harden is doing nothing half the time, and killing it the other half of the time. Think about it, if you aced 50% of an exam or test, and slept through the other 50% can you be great?

    It's half the time. Half the time he's doing nothing. There are lots of players who can achieve excellent scoring by focusing on nothing but scoring.

    Harden is not the only problem on this team, but he very well could be the source of all the other problems IMO.
    1 person likes this.
  14. cheke64

    cheke64 Member

    May 12, 2009
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    Exactly. Theres no hierarchy with those great teams, also great have great communication. Even the Players Coach Mchale wasn't warned from Morey when trades happened. What GM tells the coach how to a coach and which players we need and don't need?
  15. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة

    Jul 17, 2006
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    I do not think it is rotten to the core just mediocre.

    Everything is addressed in a mediocre way. Way of communication is not sufficient but average.

    They do know what is going on, but vaguely.

    Otherwise we would be at the bottom if everything were rotten to the core as the poster has said.
  16. mag

    mag Contributing Member

    Jul 30, 2002
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    Harden is the best player on the team but he has not heart or passion to win. The best player on any team needs to have the desire to win every night and that will pass on to the role players. If your start player shows no desire or passion to win, the rest of the team will feel the same.
    That is the reason that super starts need to have both. Physical ability and a huge heart.
  17. rocketsmetalspd

    Jul 1, 2002
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    Bingo! Need PF that can defend, score, and rebound on a consistent basis. Keep saying this but ever since Scola was let go for nothing in return the team has suffered at the PF position.
  18. ClutchCity3

    ClutchCity3 Member

    Mar 17, 2008
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    Finally a rare great thread in GARM.
    1 person likes this.
  19. CertifiedTroll

    Feb 1, 2012
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    TLDR summary for you casuals:
    OP thinks we should trade Harden
  20. spankz141

    spankz141 Member

    Mar 27, 2006
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    Harden needs to focus more on creating for his teammates and less on scoring. I have noticed this year that after getting 3 or 4 assist he starts to jack up shot to increase his points...which to me is selfish.

    Harden has elite court vision and I can see him see him average 10+ assist a game. The more he creates for his teammates, the easier he will be able to score. Defenses will start to pay more attention to the role players when they are scoring.

    If Rockets want to win....Harden needs to create more and score a little less.

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