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Steve Kerr credits Rockets star James Harden for changing how teams defend pick-and-rolls

James Harden, Steve Kerr, Rockets, Warriors

After the Golden State Warriors managed to defeat the Houston Rockets on their Christmas Day showdown, Steve Kerr shared some insight into how James Harden’s impact changes the way teams have to game-plan on defense.

“James (Harden) has basically forced the whole league to reconsider how to defend him, in particular, but how to just guard pick-and-roll,” Kerr said, via Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

The overall impact that Harden provides as a pick-and-roll ball-handler is nothing short of incredible. About 34.6 percent of his offensive possessions come in this play type when accounting for passing, and he produces 1.061 points per possession.

To put it into perspective, his efficiency trails only Damian Lillard when compared to the 16 players that have at least 100 possessions.

The fact that Harden can be so impactful from an efficiency standpoint is fascinating to think about given how he is also by far the most frequent pick-and-roll ball-handler in the league. For reference, he leads the league in overall pick-and-roll derives possessions by a 13.3 percent margin.

The season that Harden is having for the Rockets has been nothing short of spectacular, and his orchestration of the pick-and-roll is a key reason why. Managing to average 38.1 points per game along with 7.5 assists is mind-boggling, but he’s doing it with great efficiency, too.

While many may complain about how Harden frequently gets to the free-throw line, it’s important to appreciate greatness while it’s at the height of its powers. There have hardly ever been players like him in the NBA and opposing players and coaching staffs certainly understand that.