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#pounditTuesday, May 30, 2023

Ex-teammate has critical comments about James Harden

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

It is no state secret that James Harden failed to live up to expectations this season. But one of Harden’s former teammates is taking it up a notch.

Speaking this week with VladTV, ex-NBA swingman Iman Shumpert offered some critical remarks about the Philadelphia 76ers star Harden, particularly over Harden’s passivity in big moments.

“It’s just something about those big moments, you just wanna feel like your guy is inspired,” said Shumpert. “I feel like in those moments sometimes, with everything going on, all the noise, I feel like James is trying to, more like please the audience than go get it how I know he can go get it.

“I feel that’s what was a little troublesome for him this go-around because he didn’t shoot as much,” Shumpert added about Harden. “In those moments where you come down, you pass it, and they pass it back to you, you kinda get a feel like, ‘They need me to put my cape on.’ … His cape-on moments, he gets more opportunities than anybody I know. You gotta put that cape on. … That’s what I felt watching this s— [during Philly’s playoff run]. ‘Somebody need to curse him out right now. Just curse him out.’

On the other hand, Shumpert fired back at the notion that Harden was out of shape this year, saying Harden had a hamstring injury, thus preventing him from doing cardio. But Shumpert also joked that Harden has “the fat boy traits” as well as “a little build that might get a little pudgy.”

Shumpert was teammates with Harden on the Houston Rockets in the 2018-19 season and then briefly again on the Brooklyn Nets. As such, Shumpert experienced Harden’s performance in big moments firsthand, particularly when the Rockets went toe-to-toe with Golden State in the 2019 playoffs.

This season in Philly, the NBA world watched as Harden (besides an outlier performance in Game 3) shrunk in the second round against Miami, a series where the 76ers badly needed him to take over with Joel Embiid hobbled. Clearly, Shumpert is preaching to the choir here, especially with another former Harden associate also recently criticizing the ex-MVP.


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