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Stephen A. Smith Urges Kendrick Perkins To Cool Down During Heated Debate About James Harden

(via ESPN First Take)

(via ESPN First Take)

Former NBA big man (turned ESPN basketball analyst) made an appearance on First Take yesterday and things got pretty heated. During a debate about which player they'd rather have, between James Harden and Dallas' Luka Doncic, Max Kellerman explained he'd rather have Luka because Harden often fails to show up when it matters most.

Clearly distraught by that opinion, Perk went off on Max, insisting Harden is still the better player.

"From the moment Harden stepped foot in H-Town, he has been in the MVP conversation. Do you know what that tells me? If he wasn't under Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, we would've been talking about James Harden as a Rookie of the Year if he would've had his own team.

He made the Rockets a contending team since he stepped foot in Houston. He made this organization in Houston relevant again, Max. You're gonna put some respect on that man's name."

They continued to go back and forth for a while, and at one point Perk even detailed specific moments in which Harden showed up during an important game. Stephen A. eventually had to chime in to get them both to chill out.

Perk later made a statement about it on Twitter...

Max is using Harden's history of playoff malfunctions as an excuse to say he'd rather have Luka. The thing is, compared to other stars, Harden does have a stunning lack of success in the playoffs. Despite having had Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and now Russell Westbrook, James has failed to lead the Rockets to the Finals.

On the flip side, and to Perk's view, it is Harden who has made the Rockets contenders in the first place. Without him, there's no telling where they'd be or even if they'd have a chance to make the Finals at all.

It's one of those things that can go both ways and no matter where you stand on the Harden debate, you can agree that he des[erately needs a win.

This Orlando restart is the perfect place to get it.