For some time now, James Harden’s defense (or lack thereof) has been the subject of intense scorn and ridicule. According to Bobby Gonzalez, a former Division I head coach at Manhattan and Seton Hall who closely observed Team USA during its minicamp in Las Vegas, Harden is working hard to improve his reputation as a defender. Per Sheridan Hoops:
James Harden is better than advertised defensively.
I spoke to several members of the USAB staff, and behind the scenes they were amazed at how good James Harden has become as an overall player since his last tour with Team USA two years ago. The fact that he came in and was focused on being a lockdown defender blew them away.
When he wants to play defense, Harden is very capable. We already know he is one of the premier offensive players in the game. […] But now I am being told Harden is getting it done on the other end, which has always been the major complaint about his game.