“I’d Probably Be Walking Out Here With Five Championships” | Paul Pierce Doesn’t Understand How James Harden Has No Championship

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Former Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce has an opinion about James Harden’s career, which is less than favorable.

“If I had a chance to play with the talent that Harden played with, I’d probably be walking out here with five championships,” Pierce said on the “No Chill” podcast with Gilbert Arenas.

Harden recently was involved in the trade between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia Sixers. It was the solution to the bad blood between the Sixers franchise and its former guard Ben Simmons.

Shots Fired

Pierce feels that Harden has been given all the tools, but his inability to reach the pinnacle of success in the league is perplexing.

“I mean, he done played with Chris Paul, (Russell) Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kyrie Irving, and now you playing with (Joel); you played against-with all Hall of Famers, and that ain’t work yet,” Pierce continued.

Ouch.

The James Harden Effect

Harden was the No. 3 pick in the 2009 NBA draft beginning his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. There he played with Durant and Westbrook before an unexpected trade to the Houston Rockets in 2012.

He was joined by Chris Paul in Houston and had his breakout NBA years in the Lone Star State. Although Harden did make it to the Western Conference Finals twice, his Houston tenure did not yield the coveted championship.

The No Chill Gil Perspective

“You know what it is. It’s different than when we played, because we played, and we had to adapt to different offenses,” said Gilbert Arenas during the podcast. “Because he’s never had to adapt, he don’t have the off-the-ball scoring.

“He don’t have those plays, he has the play: give me the ball at the top of the key, I’m going to play the ISO ball, I’m going to do that. That’s his scoring 99.9% of the time, so he don’t have balls that way; I’m backdooring, going to post, I’m going to catch it at the elbow; he don’t have off the ball scoring and don’t know how to do it so if the offense isn’t ran like that I don’t think he can actually play with it, so he’s going to always be unhappy.

“I don’t know if he’s ready to compromise his game and say, you know what, let me learn how to back door and come off downstream, and I think it’s too late for it.”

OG’s vs. Young OG

Harden has had some highlight-reel moments despite his lack of a championship. He scored at minimum 30 points in 32 consecutive games, second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 65 straight games.

During his 2016-17 season with the Rockets, Harden became the first NBA player to record two 50-point triple-double games, ironically later topped by Russell Westbrook. In 2018, he became the first player in NBA history to score 60 points while recording a triple-double.

However, how much of Pierce’s words are an indictment of Harden’s alleged inability to win big with an All-Star cast versus a veteran’s finger-wagging moment at a new era?

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.