The host of First Take, Stephen A. Smith sends a stern message for James Harden while defending him from Antoine Walker
Harden has had one big evolution ever since he shifted teams in January. From being the guy who scored at will, and called iso plays, he has now become one of the league’s top facilitators, while still putting up wonderful numbers.
Antoine Walker, a former 3x All-Star was recently on the All Things Covered podcast, where he said he does not like the way James Harden plays. He said,
“I’m not a James Harden guy, and it’s not personal but you can’t win with that style. Any time it takes a guy six, seven, eight dribbles to get to where he has to go, that’s a problem. It works today because it’s more of a pick-and-roll league, so he gets away with a lot of things now, but I would not leverage my future for James Harden.”
James Harden, since then, responded to the same, and said,
“There are pick-and-rolls that happen in basketball, there’s isolations that happen in basketball, and I do both; I don’t really understand what that means. Stuff like that I don’t even pay attention to, especially somebody that has no credibility.”
Stephen A. Smith wasn’t overly fond of James Harden in Houston either
While Stephen A. Smith was against what Walker said, he wasn’t particularly fond of the way Harden handled the situation. Smith, replying to Walker said,
“I don’t agree with his opinion about James Harden; let me be very, very clear. I think that’s the James Harden in Houston he was talking about. I think if you’re watching James Harden play in Brooklyn: James Harden is a top league MVP candidate. He has been nothing short of sensational.”
At the same time, Smith also sent out a strong message for James:
“A simple ‘I disagree with Antoine Walker’ would have sufficed. To sit up there and say that Antoine Walker has no credibility is false. … The brother knows what he’s talking about; it’s just in this particular situation I just respectfully disagree with him.”
“But Antoine Walker is not absent of credibility, and a lot of times, these guys need to stop being so damn sensitive, especially against their own. Antoine Walker is a member of the NBA fraternity. He knows basketball. He knows what he’s talking about.”
What Smith says is right. Even if Walker’s opinion here is wrong, Harden attacking the former this way was uncalled for.