Pat Connaughton was recently on a podcast interview with Duncan Robinson. He believes that allowing James Harden to go left is a sound strategy.
James Harden is probably the world’s single biggest offensive weapon in basketball right now. There isn’t a single offensive situation where Harden isn’t absolutely downright lethal for opposition defenses.
This is a guy who can score 60 on your team, but James Harden is also the same guy who can drop 20 dimes in the same game. He very nearly did that in his barely believable 53/16/17 game a few years ago.
Guarding James Harden and making him go left sounds like a job that’s definitely easier said than done. But Pat Connaughton believes that he has the personnel who allow him the luxury of doing this.
Pat Connaughton expresses extreme confidence while explaining how he blocks James Harden and co
Pat Connaughton and Duncan Robinson have been bosom friends for a long time, throughout their basketball journey. The chemistry they share became immediately apparent the moment Connaughton got talking on this podcast appearance.
One of the best parts of this episode of the Long Shot was when Pat Connaughton broke down his approach to defense. For the 2021 NBA champion, most of his job is about knowing his personnel, as he explained in the video:
“I think that for me, I’m trying to impact winning. And it happens to be seen more on Duncan (Robinson) than some others because we have the same AAU coach who loves posting stuff about us.”
“The funny part about it is that I do it to a lot of guys. A lot of guys I learnt guarding CJ and Dame in practice the first 2 years. Like, you’ve gotta find ways to get over a screen.”
“I just try to find ways to be effective, whoever I’m guarding, whether (it’s) James Harden (who’s) a lefty. Well, he loves to take that stepback right.”
“Guess what, have you seen him take the stepback left? Not really, when he goes left, it’s all the way to the basket. So for us, I know I got two trees back there in Giannis and Brook. I’m not gonna be forcing him right, I’m forcing him left, which seems counterintuitive because he’s lefty. But he loves that stepback right. So just knowing your personnel has always been a part of my MO as a defender.”