According to Lonzo Ball, James Harden is one of the five toughest players he has ever guard. The newest Chicago Bulls guard explains what makes the 2018 MVP such a difficult player to defend.
James Harden is one of the most dynamic scorers the league has ever witnessed. Ever since Harden split ways with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder, The Beard has seen a huge jump in his offensive abilities. And since then, James has only been improving and refining his superstar-level game year after year.
There is virtually no player in the history of the league who has been able to master the deadly step-back move as perfectly as James Harden. And with the combination of his smooth handles, accurate shooting and strong finishing at the rim, the Brooklyn Nets superstar has racked himself a pretty decorated resume.
Over the course of his 12-year career, the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter has appeared in 9 All-Star Games, being selected for 7 All-NBA teams, won three scoring titles and was even awarded the prestigious MVP trophy after a stellar 2017-2018 campaign. Oh and he achieved this all while averaging 25.1 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game on 44/36/86 shooting splits.
Even the most elite defenders haven’t quite found a way to stop the wrath of James Harden. Lonzo Ball is just one of the many stars, who despite being a top defender, has been crossed up by Harden.
“I don’t know how anybody can stop James Harden”: Lonzo Ball
Back in 2019, Lonzo was asked to mention the five toughest players he had ever guarded. After naming Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeMar DeRozan, the eldest Ball brother also mentioned James Harden on the list. In his “The Players’ Tribune” article, the newest Bulls guard mentioned:
“James’s step-back might be the most unstoppable move in the league.
With James, it’s either gonna be a shot, or a foul. He kind of teases you by hanging the ball out there, like he’s daring you to take it. And as soon as you reach, he either hits you with the step-back while you’re leaning. Or he’ll let you get into him and draw the foul. He’s savvy like that.
The only way to really stop him is to put your chest on him. Because if you give him even a little bit of space and let him get into a rhythm with his dribble, he’ll set up that step-back, and it’s over.
But you gotta keep your hands back. That’s the toughest part. Because when the ball is right there in front of you, your instinct is to go get it. That’s what you’d do with most guys. With James, though, you have to change your whole mindset and be really patient. You can’t get greedy.
It’s the same thing when he drives to the rim and hits you with that Euro step. He hangs the ball out there, and he’s so good at drawing that foul. It’ll drive you crazy.
I don’t know how anybody can stop him. All you can do with James is try to stay up in him, keep your hand out of there, force him to his right … and then basically just pray that he misses.”