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James Harden: ‘I’m the best all-around basketball player in the NBA’

Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

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James Harden certainly doesn’t lack self-confidence.

Self awareness? That’s another question.

Harden via NBA 2K15 Uncensored (hat tip: Royce Young of Daily Thunder):

I’m the best all-around basketball player in the NBA.

Harden is an incredible scorer and exceptional offensive player. He could maybe turn the ball over a little less, but there’s little point in quibbling about his shortcomings on that end of the court. He’s awesome there.

Defense, though… yikes – and that’s why I’m drawn to Harden’s use of “all-around.”

If the Rockets are going to overcome their depleted depth this season and become a legitimate championship contender in the long term, Harden must improve defensively. He has the tools to defend better, even if he never reaches an elite level.

The biggest issue right now is effort. Harden conserves energy for offense, and while that tradeoff might be somewhat reasonable (but probably isn’t), it definitely limits his contributions. It certainly keeps him far short of the best-all-around-player debate currently occupied by only LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Harden is confident, which can be to his advantage. But does he also realize how much work he has left to do?

It’s a fine line, and though statements like this can be a little off-putting, Harden improved throughout his career. He deserves the benefit of the doubt he won’t rest on his laurels as the self-appointed “best all-around basketball player in the NBA.”