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Rockets at Trailblazers Gamethread

In which Trailblazer fans decry the very existence of James Harden. Read it! It's like an article in a game thread! Wow!

One of these players is a much worse defender than the other in 2016-17.  Can you guess which one?
One of these players is a much worse defender than the other in 2016-17. Can you guess which one?
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Houston Texans have done the utterly expected and wasted a chance to win an important game, mostly due to their continuing inability to identify anyone competent at the most vital position on the field, it's time again to move on to the Houston team that has two losing seasons in the last 15 years: the Houston Rockets.

Tonight the NBA's bold experiment in pain "What if the Rockets play ALL their games on the road?" continues in Portland. It'll be a late game in Houston, an early one in Portland, starting at 8PM CST. To reflect on the contest:

It's a shame when a franchise marquee player isn't quite everything you might hope he'd be. When there is no doubt whatsoever the player is great, but so insanely one sided in his on-court efforts that much of the good is swept out with the bad.

When the bad half of an admittedly great player's game is so inferior to the good half that various metrics indicate he's a star, but perhaps not one of the brightest in the firmament.

I'm talking, of course, about Damian Lillard.

Lillard's offensive game is nearly perfect in many respects. He's a big PG and he can do it all - drive, shoot the three, pass, shoot from mid-range. It's truly possible he'd put up the kind of numbers that brought Steph Curry an MVP if he played with the cast of Golden State.

But he has a flaw. He's a terrible defender. A miserable defender. He makes a hard face all the time, looks passionate and appears to be trying, but he's about as close to a traffic cone as it is possible to be, and still move around. He's the Ryan Anderson of point guards. He doesn't generate the YouTube clips of shrugging and letting an opponent scamper by him to score that people associate with James Harden. He never shrugs it off. But he generally lets the man go by with ease, anyway.

This season James Harden rates out as a slightly below average defender on ESPN's real plus minus (and you can have a discussion about whether that metric matters at all if you like - at about 1/4 of the way in for 16-17, I think it does, but is naturally subject to change.)

Harden rates #2 in the NBA with a RPM offensive rating of 7.77 and a defensive rating of -0.44 for a total of 7.27

Lillard ranks #25 in the NBA with a RPM offensive rating of 4.96 and a defensive rating of -2.27 for a total of 2.69

This defensive rating is the second worst in the top 40 of the NBA, behind Isaiah Thomas' -2.44

When the narrative shifts to the subject of one way players, at least in 2016-17, -perhaps fewer fingers should point at James Harden?

Lillard is also my point guard pick for my FLAT AFFECT ALL-STARS team:

PG - D Lillard

SG - K Thompson

SF - T Ariza

PF - M Morris (pick 'em)

C (emeritus) - T Duncan

Who would you choose?

See things in an SBN Trail Blazing Way - Blazersedge

DISCLAIMER -The Portland Trailblazers are my second favorite team, and the pride of my beloved hometown of Portland. I do apologize if a little frank discussion causes ejaculations of "Disloyal!" to burst from your lips. This is my role as Dreamshake writer and analyst, and my first love is my old hometown of Houston. I love Portland, and I watch probably 70 Blazers games a year, but I'm considerably more detached when it comes to them, as this is an adult adoption, rather than a childhood fixation. My own child is working hard to change that, but when one follows both James Harden and Damien Lillard very closely, comparison becomes inevitable.

One other comment to a certain vocal minority of Trailblazer fans - being bitter and angry about a playoff series you won with an iconic last-second shot is unbecoming. No one likes a sore winner.


Should the NBA have Official NBA Flat Affect All Stars? Would you buy a shirt if they did? One of those 1990s early 2000s big head/little body caricature thingies of 5 expressionless guys?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Yes, and yes.
    (14 votes)
  • 8%
    Yes, and no.
    (3 votes)
  • 13%
    No, and no.
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    No, and Yes.
    (0 votes)
  • 38%
    Mavs in Four! Go Mavs!
    (14 votes)
36 votes total Vote Now