Colin Cowherd: “James Harden is doing a great job in Brooklyn, but we’ve seen this with Lamar Jackson. Right now he’s a great regular season quarterback but is he a great postseason quarterback? That’s James Harden. He’s a dominant regular-season player, but he’s not as dominant in the postseason, and my belief has always been because he doesn’t get the whistle in the playoffs. Referees get out of the way, and the further the playoffs go into the conference finals and the finals, it’s wrestling. Refs do not want to decide it, they want the stars to decide it. The refs don’t have a favorite. Their favorite is swallowing the whistle, and Harden’s game is built for the whistle. So was Karl Malone’s, except in the playoffs. If you look at Harden’s numbers in the regular season and the playoffs his field goal percentage goes down, his free throw attempts go down, his three-point percentage goes down, and his points go down. They don’t plummet, but they’re not the same. Whereas Michael Jordan and Kobe were often at their greatest in the playoffs… If I have to hear another person tell me how great James Harden is during the regular season – He’s Karl Malone! Karl Malone scored the second-most points in league history – no rings, two Finals trips. Why? Don’t tell me he didn’t have help. John Stockton is a top 5 point guard ever. Jerry Sloan was a top 2 or 3 coach in the league. Mark Eaton led the NBA in blocks four times, and was 5-time All-NBA Defense. He also had one of the great home-court advantages. He’s no rings because Karl Malone depended on the whistle. It’s not that he never got the whistle, but you don’t get it in those big deciding games. James Harden has 23 times in his career scored over 50 points, and NEVER in the playoffs because to score 50 points you gotta get to the free-throw line a lot and you do not in the playoffs. Kobe, Bird, Michael, and Magic didn’t depend on the whistle. They would get the whistle but they didn’t NEED it to definitively cement their game, and Harden does. That ball-centric style rolls in the regular season, but dries up in the postseason.” (Full Video Above).
Listen to Colin Cowherd explain why he’s not a big believer in the Brooklyn Nets winning the NBA Finals this season, as Colin doesn’t think James Harden’s playing style predicated on getting to the free-throw line works in the later rounds of the playoffs.
Check out the video above as Colin compares Harden to NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone, who finished with the most free throw attempts in NBA history and the second-most points ever, but was a guy who infamously never won a championship.