James Harden wants opponents to test him on defense. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden has long had a reputation for being a weak player on defense, but that narrative is outdated.

Harden has been among the tougher defenders in the league in post-up situations the past few seasons, including this year. And he’s heard all the jokes about teams trying to target him on defense. He dares them to do so.

“Come try it, and the s— won’t work,” Harden told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

MacMahon wrote a long article about the Rockets’ defense and how Houston is able to play well on that side of the court despite having a small-ball lineup. The keys come down to their ability to constantly switch on screens, and the one overlooked part of their small-ball lineup: whatever they lack in height they make up for in strength and sturdiness.

Harden is muscular and has an extremely strong lower body, which makes it tough to push him around.

Taking shots at Harden over his defense remains in style, at least when it comes to Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the days of mocking him for his defense and making embarrassing compilation videos may be over.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.


  COMMENTS

The Morning Bark Newsletter. Emailed daily.

You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.

Emailed daily. Always FREE!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Can you name every NBA player to average 30 or more PPG in the three-point era?
SCORE:
0/37
TIME:
5:00
37.1 / CHI / 1986-87
Michael Jordan
36.1 / HOU / 2018-19
James Harden
35.4 / LAL / 2005-06
Kobe Bryant
35.0 / CHI / 1987-88
Michael Jordan
33.6 / CHI / 1989-90
Michael Jordan
33.1 / SA / 1979-80
George Gervin
33.0 / PHI / 2005-06
Allen Iverson
32.9 / NYK / 1984-85
Bernard King
32.6 / CHI / 1992-93
Michael Jordan
32.5 / CHI / 1988-89
Michael Jordan
32.3 / SA / 1981-2
George Gervin
32.1 / ORL / 2002-03
Tracy McGrady
32.0 / OKC / 2013-14
Kevin Durant
31.6 / LAL / 2006-07
Kobe Bryant
31.6 / OKC / 2016-17
Russell Westbrook
31.5 / CHI / 1990-91
Michael Jordan
31.4 / PHI / 2001-02
Allen Iverson
31.4 / CLE / 2005-06
LeBron James
31.1 / PHI / 2000-01
Allen Iverson
31.1 / HOU / 1981-82
Moses Malone
31.0 / UTAH / 1989-90
Karl Malone
30.7 / UTAH / 1980-81
Adrian Dantley
30.7 / UTAH / 1982-83
Adrian Dantley
30.7 / PHI / 2004-05
Allen Iverson
30.7 / ATL / 1987-88
Dominique Wilkins
30.6 / UTAH / 1983-84
Adrian Dantley
30.4 / HOU / 2017-18
James Harden
30.4 / CHI / 1995-96
Michael Jordan
30.3 / UTAH / 1981-82
Adrian Dantley
30.3 / ATL / 1985-86
Dominique Wilkins
30.2 / SDC / 1979-80
World B. Free
30.2 / MIA / 2008-09
Dwyane Wade
30.1 / GSW / 2015-16
Stephen Curry
30.1 / OKC / 2009-10
Kevin Durant
30.1 / CHI / 1991-92
Michael Jordan
30.0 / LAL / 2002-03
Kobe Bryant
30.0 / CLE / 2007-08
LeBron James

Customize Your Newsletter

+

Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.