The votes are out and James Harden didn’t get any. Well, he didn’t get enough. The Houston Rockets guard -- who led the NBA in minutes played, field goal attempts, and free throw attempts and makes, and was second in points per game -- wasn’t selected to any of the All-NBA teams.
The All-NBA team was released Thursday.
But not even third-team NBA?
Each voter has to select players by position, and the results say Harden wasn’t among the top six guards in the game. He did receive 106 total votes -- which was more than any player, regardless of position, who didn’t make one of the three teams.
If you look at Harden’s season, there was plenty to like.
From a statistical standpoint, Harden’s value over replacement was 6.9 (fourth in the league) and his player efficiency rating was 25.3 (ninth).
Harden had 10.7 offensive win shares and scored 2,376 points while attempting more field goal attempts (1,617) than anyone.
When you speak with opposing coaches before a game, the majority, if not all, say Harden is hard to guard, hard to stop, difficult to contain.
He wins games.
Now the bad part.
He is a poor defender and has admitted he needs to perform better defensively. On the season, Harden had 2.6 defensive win shares; his career high of 4.2 came during the 2014-15 season. This season, his defensive rating per 100 possessions was 108 and his defensive box plus/minus was minus-0.4.
Beyond the numbers, Harden played with a lack of awareness on the defensive end, and his effort could be questioned on some plays. It could be his frustration with the season or his energy level due the huge minutes he played.
Now the intangibles.
Harden’s issues with center Dwight Howard shouldn’t have a role regarding All-NBA teams, but if a voter wanted to place this into the equation, fine.
Harden and Howard didn’t mesh well, and there are some leadership issues that must be addressed with the star guard this offseason.
Harden is improving as a leader, but he must curtail some of the individualism away from the floor such as coming to some road games in a private car and not breaking the huddle with his teammates after player introductions. He came into the season out of shape due to a sprained ankle that prevented him from working out properly.
It’s interesting that Harden finished second in the MVP voting to Curry last year and didn’t make any of the All-NBA teams the following season. The Rockets’ season was a major disappointment and Harden was a major part of that. The team snuck into the postseason as the No. 8 seed and watched its coach get fired in November.
The Rockets’ shooting guard is a good guy who plays hard and is professional. How he handled Matt Barnes disrespecting Harden’s mother during last year’s postseason comes to mind.
Harden seems like a pleasant fellow, but he can be aloof, moody and distant.
That’s fine because this is about playing basketball games and not about personalities. It’s not the end of the world that Harden didn’t make any of the All-NBA teams, but he should have made one.
His season was good enough.