James Harden, Rockets highlight risks inherent with Raptors’ aggressive star-stopping strategy

Title: James Harden, Rockets highlight risks inherent with Raptors’ aggressive star-stopping strategy
Date: December 6, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis:  In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ extreme defence against James Harden, how it worked, and the opportunities it opened up for the Rockets.

James Harden is more than a free-throw machine.

While the discussion about his offensive game has too often been reduced to the volume of fouls he draws and the aesthetic value of such an approach, the underlying reason Harden is such a frequent topic is that he is exceptional. He is a singularly talented scorer with several ways of beating a defence, whether that be at the line, with his ability to score in the paint, his ability to knock down 3s at high volume or some blend of all of those skills.

That Harden knows when to engage each strength is a large part of what makes him a perennial MVP candidate. He is not a con artist taking 20 freebies a night to stuff his stat sheet. He is a smart, crafty and difficult offence unto himself. He can in successive breaths assert his will on the game and allow the game to come to him.

Check it out on The Athletic.

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