By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)
This is a PSA to James Harden.
YOU WILL NOT WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP THAT WAY.
You will not win a championship by taking almost double the shots as Russell Westbrook. You won’t win by taking the ball out of his hands. You won’t win the title by going full ISO. You just can’t do it. You heard Kobe earlier this year. It will not work in the playoffs.
The team banished away Chris Paul and you didn’t even try to keep him thoroughly involved. He is the tone setter. He gets everyone going. Surgical at times. He was also always looking to get the team involved and engaged. He might’ve been hard on you guys but that comes with the territory. You made him look 38, Mr. Harden. Chris Paul is a walking 20 & 10 without you. You made him look like 15 & 6.
You need to expand your game to catch and shoot. You can be Kobe, but let the offense develop first. You can be the bailout. You can be Kobe. He should’ve been called “8 seconds or less”. He was always given the ball in the toughest positions with no clock and he succeeded. I’ve seen your body of work. You’re capable. Let’s see it happen. You’ve got Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela. You’ve got Eric Gordon. That’s your core. A very talented core. Don’t waste it.
I don’t want to see this season play out where you’re scoring 40 and Russell has 14. That was a loss. You guys won the game where you took 16 shots and he took 17. There must be balance. Can’t be one of you putting up 25 shots to 13 shots from the other. Haven’t you learned? The Warriors, your enemy, have succeeded with ball movement. Spurs as well. Recently, the Raptors won with enough ball movement and trust in teammates. Allow your teammates to inherit bigger responsibility. Kobe did it with Gasol, Odom, and Bynum. Even Sasha & D-Fish. LeBron did it with Kyrie, Kevin, JR, and Tristan. Take notes. I have high hopes for this team. I can see a championship. The only way is balance.
Don’t turn Russell into Chris Paul. Don’t stand around while he works. Work harder. It’ll pay off. Learn to move off the ball. You’ve seen what Steph accomplished with Klay? With Kevin? You’ve got the blueprint, except it’s for 2. There’s enough basketball to go around for both of you. Now be this leader you claim to be. This MVP you claim to be. Scoring 50 will get you a scoring title. Scoring 30 might get you an NBA championship.
Good luck. I’ll be watching.