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Harden Not a Leader?

Kevin McHale Calls Out James Harden for not Being a Leader

After a few successful seasons with the Houston Rockets including a trip to the Western Conference Finals, former team head coach and NBA legend Kevin McHale got the hook after a 4-7 start to the 2015-16 season.

In what was a very interesting and controversial early hook, McHale’s deteriorating relationship with Rockets’ superstar James Harden was thought to be one of the main reasons for the termination. Now, just a few years later, McHale is criticizing his former player, stating the Most Valuable Player of the Year runner-up does not have what it takes to be a leader.

“James can see all the passes and do everything, but James is not a leader,” McHale said on NBA TV. “He tried being a leader last year, tried doing all that stuff. I think Chris Paul is going to help him just kind of get back into just being able to hoop and play and stuff like that.

“But on every team, you have to have a voice. On every team, you have to have somebody that when they say something, people listen. Like if James tells you, ‘You’ve got to play better D,’ are you going to listen to him? Like you’ve gotta be kidding me. I lived through it. Believe me, everybody in the locker room did this. Every time he mentioned defense, everybody would put their head down.”

Is this sour grapes or is McHale stating facts?

“I just think Chris Paul will be good for James Harden,” McHale said. “It will allow him to just be what he is, which is a phenomenal basketball player, not trying to lead a team. That’s just not his personality.”

Nevertheless, Harden is coming off yet another incredible season, one in which the combo-guard averaged 29.1-points, 11.2-assists, and 8.1-rebounds per game, while helping the Rockets secure the third seed in the NBA playoffs. Early in the offseason, Harden inked a massive four-year, $228-million extension with the club, which will keep him in Houston through the 2022-23 season.

 

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