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Kobe Bryant Had Predicted The Rockets Wouldn't Win A Title With James Harden's Style Of Play

Credit: USATSI

Credit: USATSI

James Harden once again failed to take his Houston Rockets to the promised land this season after a 4-1 elimination against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. Harden has struggled with the Rockets; he teamed up with Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook and yet has been unable to reach the NBA Finals during his 8-year tenure in Houston.

The Beard has had a tough time trying to lead his squad in the playoffs and he may be responsible for that. Back in 2019, the late Kobe Bryant explained why Harden's style of play was good for the regular season but once the playoffs arrived, the Rockets would struggle to get past their rivals. During an interview with ESPN, Kobe praised Harden's game but he made it clear that it wouldn't be helpful for Houston if they wanted to win the title.

“I’m not a fan of in terms of winning championships, I don’t think that style is ever going to win championships,” he said.

“But at the same time you have to keep your team’s head above water to win games, so you have to do what you have to do to win games. And he’s doing that.”

"So are you saying you don't think James Harden and the Rockets, as constructed, can win a title?" host Rachel Nichols asked.

"Not with this style of play, it won't win. With one player dominating the ball," Bryant replied.

Kobe did praise Harden and his game, but he made it clear that sooner or later it would hurt the Rockets' chances to win the NBA title. That happened in February of 2019; that season the Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs.

Regardless of the players they brought to play with Harden, the team couldn't get the job done. This season was another proof of that. The Lakers managed to stop Harden in certain games and the Rockets had no answers. Perhaps, if he changes his game to what he used to do in Oklahoma City, things would look a lot better for the Texans.