Warriors

NBA analyst explains why Harden must play more like Steph

Warriors

James Harden is one of the greatest one-on-one scorers in NBA history. In iso situations, he is incredibly difficult to contain.

He gets to the free throw line more than anybody in the league, and his step-back 3-pointer is lethal.

But Stan Van Gundy -- the former NBA coach turned TV analyst -- believes Harden needs to make a significant change to his game in order for the Rockets to experience more NBA playoff success.

"Here's one of the big problems: The (Los Angeles) Lakers (in the Western Conference semifinals) took the ball out of his hands," Van Gundy explained this week on "The Lowe Post" podcast. "Compare James Harden once he gives the ball up to Steph Curry.

"One of the things that Steph Curry does so well, is when you force him to give the ball up, he gives it up and he's on the move. He's on the run flying around. He's hard to guard off the ball.

"James Harden gives the ball up and stands there. The possession is over for James Harden. He has to be willing to move without the ball and change his offensive approach."

Van Gundy is 100 percent correct. The Warriors under coach Steve Kerr emphasize player and ball movement, and Curry rarely gets to run high ball screen after high ball screen. Instead, the two-time NBA MVP works hard at being a threat at all times, and is able to inflict damage without having possession of the ball.

 

Just watch this possession from the 2019 Western Conference finals:

Harden never does stuff like that.

RELATED: Why Bill Simmons easily picks Steph over Harden

Now that Mike D'Antoni no longer is coaching the Rockets, it will be interesting to see if whoever Houston hires demands more from Harden.

"If he's not willing to move without the ball, I think they're gonna be met with more of the same no matter who goes in there and coaches them," Van Gundy said. "His habits have to change.

"He has to accept playing the game a different way. He has to start the regular season and build some habits that will carry over into the playoffs."

Perhaps Stan's brother, Jeff Van Gundy, will get the job and be tasked with tweaking things offensively to make Harden a more well-rounded player.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram