A year after finishing second to Stephen Curry in MVP voting and earning the NPBA’s MVP award, James Harden failed to make an All-NBA team this season. Harden was on the All-NBA First team in 2015 yet after his fourth straight All-Star selection and leading the Rockets into the playoffs, he just missed the cut and didn’t even make the All-NBA third team.
Not being selected for an All-NBA team is clear evidence of how Harden’s image has taken a hit league-wide. He was criticized by many throughout the season for his defense and seemingly lack of effort at times, and apparently All-NBA team voters felt those criticisms were valid. Harden’s former
From the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen:
“Nobody really appreciates what he does except for the players in our league,” Durant said. “Everybody on the outside doesn’t really appreciate what he brings. Anybody that can put up 29 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and not make the All-NBA team, that’s like a sin to even think about not putting a guy like that on the All-NBA team.
“As a player and someone that played with him and a fan of the game I was (angry) because somebody is right here in front of you and you can’t appreciate him. If he were to retire tomorrow, we would have so many stories and videos about how great he is, but he’s here right now doing it. Appreciate what he brings.”
Durant makes a valid post as Harden’s actual numbers of 29 points, 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game are quite spectacular. Harden also led the NBA in minutes and didn’t miss a single game last season. He was the Rockets main star and Houston would not have been a playoff team if not for him.
However, despite Harden’s excellence on the offensive end, his inefficiency on defense definitely worked against him when it came to All-NBA voting. Plus it is hard to not include the other guards like Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson and Kyle Lowry that were voted in.
Harden can perhaps take solace in Durant complimenting his game but it is up to him to change how he his perceived league wide. Which after getting a long-term extension cementing Harden as Houston’s star for the future, is all on him.