Houston Rockets star James Harden is having a 2018-19 campaign eerily similar to the one that Kobe Bryant had during the 2005-06 campaign in which he averaged a league-best 35.4 points per game but saw his Los Angeles Lakers eliminated in the first round.
Obviously, Bryant knows the dangers of relying too heavily on one player to carry the load, and he said as much on ESPN’s The Jump, saying that he does not think the Rockets can win a title with their current style of play:
Kobe Bryant believes James Harden and the Rockets won't win a championship with the style of play we're seeing on his scoring tear. (via @Rachel__Nichols) pic.twitter.com/RQvdHPvpJw
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 4, 2019
“I’m not a fan of it in terms of winning championships. I don’t think that style is ever gonna win championships,” said Bryant. “But, at the same time, you have to keep your team’s head above water to win games…and he’s doing it.”
When pressed by Nichols on whether or not the Rockets can win a title playing this way, Bryant doubled down:
“Not with this style of play, it won’t win. Not with one player dominating the ball,” said Bryant.
However, Bryant did add that Chris Paul now being back in the lineup should help, as opposing defenses will not be able to key on Harden at the top of the key come playoff time.
Harden is averaging a league-best 36.3 points per game on the season and has registered 26 consecutive games of 30 points ore more, including 15 40-point performances during that span. He has also scored 50 points on four different occasions over that time period, including a 61-point outburst during a win over the New York Knicks on Jan. 23.