Some guys lead in their own way, and James Harden’s version of leadership didn’t quite appeal to former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale.

McHale jabbed Harden during an appearance on NBA TV, using his defensive deficiencies as the excuse for why the All Star “is not a leader.”

“But James is not a leader,” McHale said. “He tried being a leader last year, tried doing that stuff. I think Chris Paul is going to help him just kind of get back into just being able to hoop and play and stuff like that.

“Look, if James tells you, ‘Chuck, you got to play better D.’ You listening to him? You got to be kidding me. I lived through it, believe me. Everybody in the locker room did this [hand on forehead]. Every time he mentioned defense, everybody would put their head down, like you got to be kidding me.”

Harden, who finished second in MVP voting last year to Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44.0 percent from the field.

McHale could still be feeling the sting of being relieved of his duties as Rockets coach in November 2015 after the team started the season with a 4-7 record. That’s the only thing that could describe bashing Harden while building up the acquisition of Paul.


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