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James Harden drew some laughs last month when he said he’ll actually play defense this year, and deservedly so. Harden has been one of the worst defenders in the NBA for years. His laziness on that end is sometimes so apparent that it’s baffling. But now his teammate and partner on the wing Corey Brewer is backing him up.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense,” Brewer told ESPN. “We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
The future of the Rockets indeed. Whether they’ll actually be good remains to be seen, but they’ll definitely be different, and thank goodness; this team was exhausting. Dwight Howard is off to Atlanta, and Mike D’Antoni is the new head coach.
Harden has said the additions of D’Antoni and free agents Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon will prompt him to play defense, because…well, we don’t know. It seems like he’s just looking for an opportunity to rewrite the narrative.
"Now with the more talent that's going to release some offensive pressure off me, I'm going to be able to go out there and play both ends of the floor at a high level," Harden said. "It's really difficult to go out there, play all 82 games, lead the league in minutes, and have to do everything offensively. I mean, no one else had that weight on their shoulders in the league.”
We’ll find out whether Harden really means it pretty soon. The preseason starts in less than two months.
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