Sportress of Blogitude

James Harden, while admitting he’s a bad defender: ‘I’m a pretty good defender’ (video)


One of the more amusing running jokes from the 2013-14 NBA season was how horribly James Harden can play on the defensive end of the court. So poorly did the Houston Rockets star perform defensively that a video was compiled near season’s end that documented Harden’s atrocious defensive shortcomings.

The video was 11-and-a-half minutes long, people.

So, it was somewhat refreshing for Harden to address the issue regarding his defensive deficiencies straight-on during Monday’s introductory session with the media.

While Harden did cop to being an atrocious defender at times, admitting that he is well aware that his woeful defense is a topic of conversation — even revealing he’s familiar with the infamous video — he did in the same answer more or less proclaim that he actually is a pretty good defender.

It’s all about focus and attention to detail and some other clichés, you see.

Some of Harden’s comments, as transcribed by the Houston Chronicle:

“I hear it, but I don’t pay attention to it,” Harden said. “I know I can be a really good defender. Obviously, there’s times my defense is pretty bad. There’s a lot of stars whose defense is pretty bad sometimes. That category, I know I have to be better.”

Harden made similar comments before and after last season, but on Monday he was specific, as if he also had clicked on that video, catching himself looking the other way while his man made a back-door cut or took off on a fast break.

“It’s just (about) me being focused,” Harden said. “It’s not whether I can do it. It’s me losing track of my man or small things like that that can easily be corrected.

“It’s not the fact that I can’t do it. I’m a pretty good defender. It’s me being able to focus on small things that I kind of lose track of. I know that.”

There you go. Harden himself says he is a pretty good defender — at times — but his defense, like many other NBA stars, can be pretty bad at times, too.

But here’s the rub: Not many NBA stars — if any — are the subject of a nearly 12-minute video which showcases them stinking it up horribly on defense.

It’s all about perception, you see. Or something.

Then again, this is the same guy who over the summer proclaimed himself the best basketball player alive on the planet. A statement that is arguably as humorous as hearing Harden add commentary about defense to the soundtrack of “NBA 2K15.”

All in all, Harden does deserve credit for acknowledging his poor defense. At times.

[H/T Ball Don’t Lie]