James Harden’s trade destinations might not sit well with Houston management. Harden made it known that the likes of Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Milwaukee are on his list although Houston would prefer striking a deal with Boston.
The Celtics have emerged as one of the front-runners for James Harden, and certainly have the package to strike a deal. With a deal around Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, Houston can immediately rebuild with talent. However, this deal won’t be the right one for the Celtics. For the following reasons, the Celtics are better off without the superstar shooting guard. Here is the trade package the Celtics can offer Houston, and why it doesn’t make sense to make the deal.
Trade Package: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, two future first-round picks for James Harden
Harden’s Play Style Goes Against Boston’s Playstyle
James Harden is one of the best isolation scorers in NBA history. His ability to break down defenders with his dribbling and explosiveness makes him an unstoppable force on offense, and he would make almost every team’s offense much better. But that doesn’t apply to the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics are one of the best teams in the entire league and have been contenders to win the East every season. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and they will certainly be a threat to make it that far again this season.
The Celtics predicate their entire offense off of ball movement and smart offense, without a single player dominating the ball every single possession. While Boston employs isolation at times, they don’t do it all the time. James Harden is the player that can break records with his usage rate, and his style would go against what has made Boston successful over the past few years. With a roster filled with young stars such as Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, having them stand around while Harden goes one on one doesn’t equal success for the coaching staff or the team.
Too Many Isolation Scorers
Even if the Boston Celtics were to change their offensive scheme to incorporate a superstar like James Harden, there would be too many isolation scorers on one team. The Celtics employ their isolation style of play with Tatum and Kemba Walker at times, especially when either player is defended by a single opponent. James Harden and his playing style would confuse the offense and a much more inconsistent offense in Boston.
Tatum and Kemba Walker are both very capable of going one on one. Tatum had a career season averaging 23.4 PPG and Walker put up 20.4 PPG. In combination, they have opposing defenses fits and they were able to score in isolation without hogging the ball every time. James Harden averaged 34.3 PPG last season, and he will look to take away opportunities for both Walker and Tatum which is not good for both the short term and the long term.
Jayson Tatum Needs To Be The Franchise Star In Boston
With James Harden on the squad, Jayson Tatum will be a secondary star. Harden can control a franchise because of his stat sheet stuffing and offensive dominance, and franchise management can’t influence a player like that. Harden also isn’t the most easy-going star and he will demand more than the ball when playing in Boston.
Jayson Tatum, on the other hand, is a better team player and should be the player the Celtics build their entire scheme off of. The more shot attempts and opportunities that Tatum gets, the better he will be and the better the Celtics will be. Harden will be 32 this year and will never have the ability to lead a franchise to a ring as the guy. He isn’t that type of leader and is more of a stat-stuffing superstar. Tatum is only 22 years old and has already shown flashes of brilliance, similar to a young Kobe Bryant.
James Harden is a great player and scorer, but he isn’t the answer for Boston. They need to keep their core intact, implement their new center Tristan Thompson, and continue the growth of their roster. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be the stars for Boston very soon and the Celtics should continue improving their squad around them.