Every basketball fan knows that James Harden made a name for himself in the NBA with his incredible offensive abilities. A three-time scoring champion, Harden solidified himself as one of the greatest scorers of this generation over the last decade, and he continues to move up the all-time scoring list with the LA Clippers.
Early on in his career, Harden was labeled a bad defensive player due to frequent lapses on defense. He has since made big improvements on that end of the floor and can no longer be labeled a defensive liability. However, it can be hard to shake a defensive reputation in the NBA, whether good or bad.
Recently, Harden was asked about his defensive abilities and he agreed with the notion that his defense gets overlooked when analysts discuss his game.
James Harden talked about his overlooked defense
In talking about what he does to succeed on the defensive end, James Harden expressed that he tries to keep it simple. "Just try to be in the right spots and communicate, and be as effective as I can defensively," said Harden. "That's really my main focus."
But he emphasized that his teammates are one of the main reasons he is able to produce on that end of the floor. Harden emphasized how much easier it is to play defense with such talented offensive players surrounding him.
"We've got guys that can score the basketball, so it takes a lot of pressure off me offensively," Harden said. "For me defensively, it's just making sure I'm engaged, getting my hands in passing lanes and being in the right spots."
Clippers fans should be happy to hear Harden taking defense as seriously as he is. As the former scoring champion said, the more he is able to conserve energy on offense, the more he can make a serious impact defensively as well.