“Forty a night is pretty tough, especially if you want to get efficient on both ends of the floor. … We got to figure it out. We have to figure out how to give guys more minutes and be more effective on the court so as a team we can get better.”
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Before we start criticizing Harden, let’s make a quick concession.
He is absolutely correct in later saying no player is averaging nearly 40 minutes and performing at a high level on both ends. Put simply, that would be an unreasonable expectation for anyone.
“Playing those minutes, you’re going to have some lapses, you’re going to have some mistakes," Harden told the Chronicle. "I try not to worry about them. I try to give it my all on both ends of the floor and live with the results.”
But for someone who claims he’s all about consistently giving the best effort possible, Harden sure doesn’t show it on the floor.
Is Harden truly content to live with that kind of result? Or this?
Harden has logged a league-leading 39.7 minutes per contest. There’s no question he shouldn’t be playing that much over an 18-game sample.
But the 26-year-old’s repeated lackadaisical effort is inexcusable. Besides, it’s not like Harden is atoning for his defensive struggles as a scorer.
He’s attempted 8.9 3-pointers per game, which is the second-highest rate in the league. However, Harden has connected on only 2.7 of them, a putrid 29.8 percent. Fatigue certainly hasn’t helped those numbers, but Harden should realize outside shooting isn’t his best attribute right now.
While it’s perfectly reasonable for Harden to voice concerns with his usage in the minutes category, the left-hander ought to reconsider the manners in which he’s playing — and isn’t playing — the game, too.