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Harden has pure Shaqtin moment: Gives up on loose ball, gets burned for dunk (VIDEO)

The handwringing over James Harden’s start to the season is overblown and, for some, has become a “look at me” talking head segment with little substance (it’s less about the new foul call enforcement and more about his hamstring). We’ve seen it all before, Harden getting off to slow starts only to look like an MVP by Christmas. It’s far too early to draw sweeping conclusions.

But Harden does throw gasoline on the fire.

This is an early candidate for the worst play you will see this year.

That is just comically bad.

Harden knew if he touched the ball it would be a backcourt violation and a dead ball turnover, but that is a better outcome than letting Saddiq Bey have a dunk.

Harden finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Nets’ fourth straight win. The start of this play, when Harden can’t blow by Bey, highlights how the hamstring issue that slowed Harden last playoffs and limited his workouts this offseason is still impacting his game. He does not have the same burst right now. If we’re deep into last-minute Christmas shopping and still having this conversation, then there is legitimate cause for concern. Harden is prone to slow starts. Right now, it’s just something to watch as Harden is having some better games and moments of late.

Just not this moment against the Pistons.