Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni reveals why James Harden sometimes just stands around on offense
Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook are ball-dominant players, so the Houston Rockets have sometimes turned into a “my turn, your turn” type of offense. That type of basketball usually struggles to work in the NBA, Mike D’Antoni’s squad is somehow making it effective.
When Westbrook has the ball, Harden is usually just standing around the perimeter and not moving. Some in Houston have been wondering why Harden doesn’t move without the ball.
D’Antoni has an explanation for that and spoke with Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic about Harden’s off-ball play with the Rockets.
“Where to go?” Mike D’Antoni said on the reason he would not want James Harden to move around with how teams are defending him. “I mean, are you going to get into Russell’s way? Russell’s going to the hoop. So just stand there. If they come off, he’s going to catch-and-shoot. But to move around and run around and get him tired for no reason? No. You can’t make James more efficient, I don’t think, than what he is. I think it’d just wear him down.”
A case can be made the Rockets should make Westbrook the full-time point guard and Harden the full-time shooting guard once the playoffs start. Westbrook is more explosive than Harden and can break defenses down by attacking the basket, which will free up Harden for wide-open looks from the perimeter.
Westbrook isn’t a reliable shooter from the 3-point line. Teams are likely going to be content with leaving Westbrook open from deep in the postseason if Harden collapses the defense on his drives to the hoop.
The Rockets are 26-12 on the season. They are in fourth place in the West, with both Harden and Westbrook putting up stellar numbers.