Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum came to the defense of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo after James Harden’s comment in a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols left a sour taste in his mouth.
McCollum responded to a fan implying Harden was right about his take on Antetokounmpo, saying he wished he could just be 7 feet and able to dunk the ball all the time.
“When it’s all said and done, they will appreciate it more,” said Harden. “But I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk. Like that takes no skill at all (laughs).
“I had to actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill, you know? I take that any day.”
— Coach Zo (@CoachZo901) February 28, 2020
I ain’t rolling Giannis can do everything but shoot. Buddy has skills. If it were easy every 6’11 dude would be killing. Euro step, initiating the break, getting assists. Buddy putting up numbers and winning and started off 6’10- 180. He worked on his game
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 28, 2020
The Blazers star has a good point here. If Harden was to be looked under the same scope, Antetokounmpo could easily say this: “I wish I could go to the line 15 times a game and get foul calls on my 3-point attempts consistently.”
It’s easy to put someone under a broad spectrum.
While Antetokounmpo does get a majority of his shots at the rim, he also leads the league in usage rate, defensive rating, and net rating — doing much more than dunking the ball with his long strides and athleticism.
There is no love lost between these two MVP candidates, and surely not now that talks for who should be the Most Valuable Player are bound to heat up with these two superstars likely taking center stage once again.
McCollum is siding with Team Giannis, but beef season is officially here, and many NBA players will pick their side soon enough. Many are now looking forward to when the Bucks and Rockets play each other again, which will happen on March 25 on ESPN.