James Harden needs to grow up

Rockets' star must evolve his leadership skills for his team to succeed

Updated: February 10, 2014, 4:06 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Is James Harden someone who can anchor a championship team? Can he pair with Dwight Howard to win rings?

With the exception of a healthy Dwyane Wade, Harden is regarded as the league's best shooting guard. Harden also is one of the top pure scorers in the game today at any position. But there's a darker side to Harden's game, one that does little to engender a team concept and ultimately just makes him look selfish. Because of that, the Houston Rockets and their fans are fair to ask whether Harden is beginning to resemble a player maligned as a selfish, ball-hogging player -- the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony.

And yet, for all the potential negatives evident in that comparison, Harden's skills are good enough to help the Rockets win the Western Conference if he can elevate his overall maturity and leadership to match his on-court skills.


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