Former Rockets head coach Kevin McHale recently spoke in an interview about the current impasse between James Harden and the 76ers.
“I was James’ coach when he first came over from the Thunder. When I’d run down the left wing, you’d have to get the ball in the middle, which would create a fast break, and James would stop running, and all of a sudden a three-on-two situation became a two-on-two, and I didn’t have a shot, and nobody had a shot, just because the guy wasn’t running or throwing the ball forward. After a while, James did a lot of little things that he wasn’t asked to do, and I was like, that can only last so long.
“If you don’t do the little things, you’re not going to win. It’s like if you’re not a player who can handle defensive possessions, you better be a good team defender. Larry Bird is not a great individual defender, but he’s a great team defender. He was always in the right position and always willing to play into the round. Going down and pouncing on the ball, etc., he’ll go out and do those things. Those are the things I say James can do, he just doesn’t want to do them. So I just figured that if your number one player isn’t willing to do a lot of the dirty work in order to win games – not mid-season NBA games – but what it takes to win a championship, then that’s only going to last for a long time.
“It’s so hard to win four series in a row and win a championship. At some point, when you play a team, you have to do all the little things right. I thought Daryl (Murray) made him skim over a lot of those kinds of things. Eventually, it’s going to come back to bite you in the butt. So, that’s what happened. It came back and backfired on him.” McHale said.