In the basketball floor, James Harden is considered a lot of things. He is considered a great shooter, and he is considered a great finisher and playmaker. He is not, however, among those most would consider a great defender.
In fact, that's probably his biggest knock as a player.
But according to Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, there is nobody better on that end of the floor.
“James Harden [was] the best post defender in the league last year,” Fertitta said. “Just look at the statistics. When he wants to play defense, there is nobody any better.”
The silver lining here is drawn between post defense and all-around defense. Harden is good playing at playing defense in the post (even though did not defend there a whole lot anyway), and actually ranked second to Paul George in steals last season. But playing consistent, solid team and individual defense is more than grabbing steals and guarding down low. It does not make him a good all-around defender.
As a team, the Rockets did not fare well in that category either last season.
The point is unless Harden can step up and lead his team to defensive dominance, there is little evidence to support he is elite on that end of the floor. The Beard is just too concerned with putting that ball in the hoop.
Just don't tell Mr. Feritta that...