Everyone knows how lethal of a offensive player that James Harden has became over the years. His hard work over the summer adding to his craft is the big reason why he is known as one of the best offensive players in the NBA today. But although he has been a great scorer for such a long time, even the best of players have a stretch in the season where they can’t get anything to fall. And that is what Harden has been suffering through the past couple of weeks.
It all started on January 8th in a road game against the Atlanta Hawks. Yes, Harden erupted for 41 points, but if it wasn’t for him making 19 free throw shots, there’s no way that he ends that game having a huge scoring outburst for Houston. Harden shot 9-34 from the field during this game on 4-20 on three point shots as well. One will say that he just couldn’t find the range that night, but this slump seems to have carried with him throughout the rest of the month leaving Houston with blown chances of wins against several opponents.
Through the next couple weeks, Harden would go on to shoot 33% from the field for 9 consecutive games. There are many plays where he is taking ill advised threes and he has missed opportunities at the rim trying to draw a foul. Many can make a case that his shooting performance have been a reason why they have lost to OKC twice this season and also suffer defeats against the Lakers and Blazers as well.
Luckily, Russell Westbrook has picked up the slack for Harden’s inefficiency. With Westbrook improving his field goal percentage along with his efficiency rating, he has been the man for Houston throughout this month as Harden’s been struggling.
If these guys can be efficient together and feed off of one another, Houston could possibly be the threat like they were earlier in the season when they were one of the top teams in the West. But since Harden has been stinking up the joint, we’ve seen Houston slowly fall down to one of the lower seeds in the West as of today.
“Just have to find a way to fight through it” Harden stated in a postgame interview after his performance against the Lakers. An 82 game season can have tough stretches to go through as the season progresses, so if one is a player of Harden’s caliber, he has to find a way to be a better teammate on the court by taking great shot attempts and look to get his teammates involved even more than before.
He is drawing fouls left and right but he is also hurting his team with his bad shot taking as well. Harden has to understand the situation that is at stake and figure out what is the best way for this Houston team to win ball games for the rest of the season.
Although Harden is going through a tough stretch with shooting the ball, can he overcome this shooting slump? Of course he can. This is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history who can torch a defender when he finds his rhythm. But taking the smart shots are also important as well. Eventually, Harden will have a game where he will find the range and the Rockets will end up securing a blow out win. Everyone will just have to be patient and wait for that moment to come soon.
It may be tough now, but let’s not knock James Harden off just yet. He has had moments like this before where he had to overcome a certain stretch to find his rhythm again. Without Harden playing lights out for this team, the Rockets get nowhere without his impact on the basketball court. So hopefully soon we’ll see Harden go on a new stretch where he becomes an efficient shooter once again.