Former Rockets Guard Explains Why James Harden Shouldn't be Considered a Winner

Former Houston Rockets guard and lottery pick added context to James Harden's 'winner' comments.
May 3, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard James Harden (1) looks to move the ball past Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the fourth quarter during game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard James Harden (1) looks to move the ball past Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the fourth quarter during game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After being a lottery pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Bonzi Wells went on to have a stellar career. All told, Wells spent 10 years in the NBA, while suiting up for five different teams, including the Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and formerly New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans).

Wells joined former teammate Rasheed Wallace on Sheed and Tyler, which airs on the Underdog Content Network, to dive into James Harden's recent comments, in which the Rockets legend stated that his legacy should be that of a winner.

"I mean, when he says he's a winner, obviously he hasn't won a chip yet. So it's tough. 

And he's played alot of games, he won alot of games. But I wouldn't just say 'hey, James Harden is a winner.'

Now I would say he's a scorer. He's probably one of the most dynamic players that we've ever seen in our league.

But it's a flip side to him that makes you like 'ah'."

Wells continued, discussing how Harden's life off the court has played a factor.

"We always talk about how that night life can catch up with you.

You almost can see it on his frame. That he's playing hoop and he's cold and he's better than everybody else.

But that night life has caught up with him sometimes. It's tough to balance it sometimes.

Because when you're a superstar like him and you have different likes and different interests.....and I'm not mad at him because he's one of the top 75 players to ever play this game, maybe top 50."

Wells explained why a championship is pivotal for Harden's career.

"I think his legacy could be alot different if he gets a chip. Because a chip solidifies alot of things.

So I think that's what he has to have on his resume for people to be like 'okay, he's a winner.'"

Wells wasn't entirely negative, though.

"I know he's on the downward spiral of his career. So I hope he can get in a situation where he doesn't have to be the feature anymore. Because he's put in so much work in his career.

His Houston days were outrageous. He changed the game.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook are probably two of my favorite players. I really love to watch them play. The stuff that he was doing naturally, people are training for that now.

He changed the game. The way he was getting buckets on boys, you have to respect it."

Wells also added that Harden has proven that he's willing and capable of taking a secondary role for the sake of the team and that he likes Harden's chances of winning a title with the LA Clippers.

Wells also pushed back on the career-long narrative of Harden being out of shape.

Harden exercised his player option last offseason to facilitate a trade out of Philadelphia, making him an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 playoffs. 

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Anthony Duckett

ANTHONY DUCKETT