Kevin McHale Says That James Harden Isn’t A Leader

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Kevin McHale Says That James Harden Isn’t A Leader


James Harden has been one of the best players in the entire league, ever since he joined the Houston Rockets 5 years ago. In each of the five years, the Rockets made the playoffs. Harden even finished second in the MVP voting the past two years.

Now, the Rockets brought in a second superstar in Chris Paul, to help ‘The Beard’ lead the Rockets. According to Harden’s former coach Kevin McHale, that’s much needed as he doesn’t see James Harden as a leader. McHale spoke with Charles Barkley on NBATV, (transcript via HoopsHype)


“James is not a leader. He tried being a leader last year and doing that stuff, I think Chris Paul is going to help him do that stuff and get back to just hoop and play. On every team you need to have a voice, you have to have somebody that when he says something, everybody listens. Look, if James tells you ‘Chuck, you’ve got to play better [defense]!’ Are you going to listen to him? You’re kidding me! I lived through it, everybody in the locker room [shook their head].

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


McHale does have a point in Harden not fitting the role of a leading voice when it comes to defense. We all know that James plays some lackluster defense at times, solely focussing on his offense.

That may even harm his leading abilty in general, as great of a player he is. Paul definitely is respected in the entire league, so it’s obvious that he will help Harden lead the team.

It also is understandable that former Rockets coach McHale voices his crizicism towards Harden, as he reportedly was the one pushing for the Rockets to fire him.

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