There is a lot to discuss when looking at James Harden’s long-term fit with the LA Clippers. Of course, what has been at the center of the discussion thus far is his ability to be effective without the ball in his hands.
Long known as one of the best scorers in the world, Harden’s natural inclination will always be to score the ball. The biggest challenge for him right now is balancing that instinct and while playing next to some of the other top offensive players in the NBA.
But one other aspect of Harden’s game has been a bit under-discussed since he arrived in LA. While he has famously mastered the art of the step-back jumper over the years, Harden has not been as effective as a catch-and-shoot threat.
James Harden has to catch-and-shoot more frequently
As illustrated in the post above, there have been more than one or two instances in Harden’s first two games with the Clippers alone where he has passed up good catch-and-shoot looks in favor of a more complicated maneuver. These have often led to a turnover or a missed shot.
Some of these decisions are likely just the product of early jitters with a new team or simple overthinking. But regardless of the reason behind Harden’s decisions shooting the basketball, he must begin taking more catch-and-shoot opportunities.
We know Harden has the ability to knock down shots from all over the floor, so him becoming a higher-level catch-and-shoot threat is simply a matter of confidence. He is experienced enough to know when to attack and when to defer. Being aggressive when he gets open looks will only help open up the Clippers’ offense.